Gambling industry targeting Fantasy Premier League players

By Dave Sawyer, Last updated Aug 12, 2023

The gambling industry within the UK comes under the spotlight again as an investigation by the BBC has shown that betting firms are increasingly sponsoring websites linked to the Fantasy Premier League, a popular online football game that allows players as young as 13 years old to join.

The BBC’s investigation into this practice has shown that betting firms are increasingly sponsoring websites linked to the FPL, leading to the display of gambling advertisements and promotions on various FPL-related podcasts and social media platforms. The consequences of this trend are being met with raised eyebrows from advocates and lawmakers alike, who are worried about potential impacts on underage audiences.

The investigation reveals that the gambling industry is strategically placing its ads and promotions on websites and podcasts closely tied to the FPL. While the FPL community is diverse, including a significant number of independent content creators, the presence of gambling advertisements on prominent platforms raises ethical and regulatory concerns.

Carolyn Harris MP, who chairs the All Party Parliamentary Group for Gambling Related Harm, emphasised that the gambling industry’s intent to “infiltrate” sites used by children is deeply concerning.

Furthermore, industry guidelines set by the Advertising Standards Authority dictate that gambling ads should not strongly appeal to under-18s, but the recent findings suggest a need for stricter enforcement and scrutiny. Only last year the ASA took action, ruling that an advertisement by Ladbrokes broke their code as it utilised the Premier League footballers, Philippe Coutinho, Jesse Lingard and Kalidou Koulibaly. All of whom are well known to children.

As the investigation reveals the industry’s strategic targeting of the FPL community, the ethics of advertising to young audiences are brought into focus. Advocates and critics are calling for more stringent regulations and enhanced awareness of the potential harm such exposure could cause to underage individuals. The debate highlights the need for comprehensive measures to protect vulnerable audiences in the evolving landscape of online gaming and gambling.

Regardless, the results of this investigation by the BBC which they published earlier this morning, is likely going to ensure the drum beat for more stringent gambling regulation in the UK becomes a lot louder as a result.

Dave Sawyer

Dave has been involved in the Online Gambling industry for 20 odd years now. With experience working for an operator based in Gibraltar, where he headed up the IT team at Ladbrokes, to running his own iGaming affiliate websites until 2019.

Dave now writes for Casinomeister and sister site Casino Gazette. You may also see him on the forum from time to time, where he goes by the handle Webzcas.

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