April 22, 2024 3 min read


Study: Online Ads Blur the Lines between Gaming and Gambling

Children do not understand the risks of online gambling because of the similarities between gambling and gambling-like products, such as loot boxes

GambleAware, the United Kingdom’s leading gambling harm treatment charity, has published a new report that highlights children’s exposure to gambling ads. The study was carried out by CultureStudio Research, Family Kids & Youth and Sherbert Research and sampled children and young people between the ages of 7 and 25 and their families.

The Qualitative Research on the Lived Experience and Views of Gambling among Children and Young People research shows that that many see gambling as a normal part of everyday life. Concerningly, many children described it as a part of their experience growing up, saying that they’ve been exposed to all kinds of gambling or gambling-like content from an early age.

Because of its bright, loud and eye-catching nature, gambling has a strong appeal to children and young people. Many said that the two worlds feel “interchangeable.”

The problem, according to GambleAware’s study, is that children do not understand the risks of online gambling because of the similarities between gambling and gambling-like products, such as loot boxes.

Young People Highlight the Need for Better Education

A boy aged 15-16 told the researchers that such content is usually framed like a game. A girl aged 13-14 who was also an affected other acknowledged that young people are not given enough information about gambling to properly understand the risks.

An earlier GambleAware-funded research confirmed that and showed that 96% of British 11-14-year-olds are aware of gambling marketing but only 38% were aware of any health information or warnings.

Overall, many of the younger respondents said that they would like more education on gambling harm in schools. According to the report, many children feel that online spaces are oversaturated with gambling ads and content.

Most concerning, many of the respondents said that they had participated in some form of occasional gambling activity, usually beside a family member. This early exposure, GambleAware warned, could be damaging in the long term.

GambleAware Wants to Shield Children from Harm

Zoë Osmond, CEO of GambleAware, commented on the matter, highlighting the fact that gambling content is now part of many children’s lives. She said that this normalization could lead to gambling problems and that her team would like to see more restrictions put on advertising.

Urgent action is needed to protect children because they can be seriously affected by gambling harm, as a result of someone else’s gambling or their own participation.

Zoë Osmond, CEO, GambleAware

CultureStudio Research’s founder, Hanna Chalmers, echoed Osmond’s words, saying that protections need to be put in place to ameliorate harm and minimize the negative impact on children and young people.

Nicki Karet, Sherbert Research’s managing director, also commented on the matter, warning of the risks of the grey area between iGaming and gambling-like gaming since it „blurs the lines between what is and isn’t gambling.”

Dr Barbie Clarke, managing director of Family Kids & Youth concluded that this research with vulnerable children shows that they can be more impressionable and trusting than other children. They are also the least likely to seek support, Clarke noted.


Angel has a passion for all forms of writing, be it fiction or nonfiction. His curious nature gives him an ace up his sleeve when researching a new topic. Angel’s thirst for knowledge, paired with adaptability, always helps him find his way around.

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