BUSINESS

UK study shows safe gambling not pushed enough on Twitter

TAGs: Northumbria University, problem gambling, Twitter, United Kingdom

A lot of attention is being paid to how U.K. operators handle their promotional materials in the face of stricter regulations. One study shows that more attention may need to be paid to their Twitter presence.

UK study shows safe gambling not pushed enough on TwitterThe Yorkshire Post reports that a study by Northumbria University reveals just 1.6% of tweets by U.K. operators promote safe betting practices. The research was done by postgraduate students at the school, and will be presented to the British Psychological Society annual conference on May 2.

The research was done by analyzing the accounts of the highest grossing operators in the country, as well as their affiliates.

Researchers found the low 1.6% figure for safe betting practices, and noted that only a single affiliate made an effort to curb problem gambling. Postgraduate researcher Scott Houghton said:

“One possible explanation is the combination of the mobile nature of online gambling and the sheer scale of marketing by gambling companies. In this study we assessed the type and frequency of content posted via Twitter from gambling operators and their affiliates.

“Tweets made to promote safer gambling behaviour were sparse for gambling operators and even more so for affiliates.”

They also noted that while U.K. laws restrict operators from promoting directly to underage individuals, affiliate accounts don’t appear to be restricted in practice. The Advertising Standards Authority recently went after five operators for not protecting under age citizens more from their advertising practices.

The results of this study may have an impact on future policy. Houghton said, “Our findings will be used to advise current British policy to ensure gambling is marketed in a way which allows for recreational enjoyment and also protects the vulnerable.”

This will add ammunition for a government that is already considering tougher laws on operators, and support the argument GVC Holdings has made that advertising bans need to be stricter.

It might get a bit silly though. It wouldn’t be too far-fetched to imagine that affiliates will need to make some attempt to remind their followers to practice safe betting practices; however, if the result of this study is a quota or percentage of tweets that need to focus on problem gambling, operators and affiliates will find a way to work the math to still focus on the message they prefer.

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