March 18, 2024 3 min read


Research into Social Media Gambling Ads Calls for Regulatory Changes

Conducted by Bristol University in the UK, the new research uncovered that regardless of the age, gambling content marketing is difficult to identify as advertising

Advertising is an inseparable part of selling any product or service. With the popularity of social media, advertising has never been easier. But while social media allows companies to advertise their products to many consumers at once, some ads may impact vulnerable groups such as children and this is precisely the topic of a new research in the UK.

The research from Bristol University probed the recognizability of gambling promotions on social media. Importantly, the research highlighted a growing concern that many children fail to identify content marketing as advertisements.

The new probe involved 650 participants between the ages of 11 and 78. Shockingly, a significantly low percentage of children and young adults were able to identify content marketing as advertising. In the age group between 11 and 17 years old, only 43% were able to spot content marketing as advertising.

With the adults the results were not as concerning, considering that 65% of that group were able to identify content marketing as advertising. Still, the research explained: “irrespective of age, content marketing is universally challenging to identify compared to conventional ads.”

According to the new research, approximately 40% to 50% of gambling ads via social media are content marketing. Pointing to international advertising codes, the research outlined that “advertising must be obviously identifiably as such.”

Social media marketing is evolving rapidly, with content marketing emerging as a prominent technique. It blurs the lines between content and advertising and aims to foster enduring positive relationships between the brand and consumer,

reads the new study

Changes to the Regulations Are Required

Ultimately, the use of content marketing as advertising seeks to develop a connection between the consumer and the brand. When it comes to gambling, customers who are affected are more likely to create an account and gamble. However, as noted, such ads on social media can also be seen by children or young adults who cannot identify them as advertisements.

Besides the worrying fact that more than half of the children cannot identify gambling content marketing as advertising, the research highlighted deficiencies in the current regulations related to advertising. Considering the deficiencies and the results, Raffaello Rossi and Agnes Nairn, the authors of the research, recommended the implementation of a ban on gambling content marketing.

Additionally, the experts said that advertising literacy education should be a part of different educational programs. According to Rossi and Nairn, the implementation of such changes can help protect more people in the context of the growing social media marketing landscape.


Jerome is a welcome new addition to the Gambling News team, bringing years of journalistic experience within the iGaming sector. His interest in the industry begun after he graduated from college where he played in regular local poker tournaments which eventually lead to exposure towards the growing popularity of online poker and casino rooms. Jerome now puts all the knowledge he's accrued to fuel his passion for journalism, providing our team with the latest scoops online.

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