September 22, 2023 3 min read


TikTok Faces Backlash as It Bans and Reinstates Video Criticizing Gambling Ads

TikTok cited violations of its community guidelines as the reason for removing the video but later reinstated it after a public outcry

Social media giant TikTok recently came under fire for removing a video that criticized the proliferation of gambling advertisements on broadcast television. The video, uploaded by Kate Susabu, highlighted the struggles of her grandfather with gambling addiction and called for a halt to advertising money from gambling companies flowing into the broadcasting industry. 

Kate Susabu’s Video Sparks Outrage as TikTok Pulls It Amid Rising Gambling Content

Kate Susabu’s video raised concerns about the impact of gambling advertising, citing a study by the Australian Institute of Family Studies that found over 70% of male gamblers between the ages of 18 and 35 were at risk of harm. However, TikTok’s decision to take down the video was met with widespread criticism, especially in light of the platform’s growing acceptance of gambling-related content.

Late last year, TikTok reversed its policy against hosting gambling content after forming a partnership with Australia’s largest online gambling company, Sportsbet. This move sparked accusations from public health experts that TikTok was using the trial to target and recruit a younger generation of gamblers.

Furthermore, in May, TikTok expanded its wagering partnerships to include companies like Neds and Dabble, drawing even more criticism. The content produced through these partnerships often features former athletes or influencers and is not always easily recognizable as ads.

Kate Susabu expressed her disappointment over the removal of her video, considering the platform’s increasing tolerance for gambling-related content. She pointed out the irony of a company marketing itself as fun for teenagers while profiting from gambling advertisements.

Susabu’s Video Restored Amid Controversy Over Gambling Ads

The ban on Susabu’s video was eventually lifted after Guardian Australia reached out to TikTok for comment. A TikTok spokesperson defended the removal, stating that the platform only allows gambling content in approved partnerships with specific wagering companies. They also noted that users could appeal bans for guideline violations in-app.

Marketing experts have accused gambling companies of using TikTok to target young women, attempting to diversify their predominantly male client base. Some videos depict young women betting and socializing with male friends. TikTok responded by saying these ads are targeted at users aged 21 and older and that they limit the duration of exposure.

A parliamentary inquiry has recommended banning online gambling ads across all media platforms in Australia within three years to protect impressionable and vulnerable audiences. The federal government is expected to respond to these recommendations in the coming months, with gambling companies and harm reduction advocates actively lobbying for their respective causes.

While gambling content on TikTok includes mandated harm-reduction slogans, experts argue that these messages are less effective on the platform compared to traditional media, as users quickly swipe to the next video, potentially missing the critical warnings.


Silvia has dabbled in all sorts of writing – from content writing for social media to movie scripts. She has a Bachelor's in Screenwriting and experience in marketing and producing documentary films. With her background as a customer support agent within the gambling industry, she brings valuable insight to the Gambling News writers’ team.

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