Deliberately or not, the operators are still using (too) many marketing tactics whose victims are the children, meaning persons under the age threshold of 18 years old, established by the law for practicing gambling. The debate regarding the rules and standards of advertising seems as if it will never end, as if a part of the industry does not seem to understand that the juvenile’s protection is an aspect of the business which constitutes in a proactive practice of the Responsible Game, so that the gambling does not create supplementary vulnerabilities among the juveniles – an age category protected by the law from various products or services which require a higher level of judgment before having access to the consumption.
But the advertise is just a part of the story. A recent study made by the Gambling Commission from Great Britain proved how more gambling sites offer “free” games which may be attractive to juveniles. Even more, these sites do not have access policies based on age verification, and some games in which the protagonists are famous characters from the cartoons are offered without any obstacles to the online guests unaffected by the age.
“Targeting juveniles, an age category extremely vulnerable, is obvious in these cases: it is hard for us to believe that the adults are interested in games with bunnies, panda bears or grimalkins. Such practices are very dangerous and must be immediately forbidden: not only that they break any ethics rule and any legal rule in effect, but they also bring a huge prejudice to the entire industry. Gambling is a solid business which can exist only with players and customers that know what they expect from this type of divertissement.
Juveniles are and must remain a protected age category”, declares Mr. Bogdan Coman, ROMBET executive director.
Surprisingly, some of the British journalists have discovered that some online gambling portals also offer “attractions” injurious to the minors even with the approval of the Gambling Commission from Great Britain, but we are sure that the marketing idea of these sites will not prosper the severity and intransigence of the respective Commission being acknowledged worldwide.
After that, a third aspect intervenes: the method of registering and creating an account.
More operators questioned by the British press have revealed that this process is still relatively simplistic: you can introduce a false date of birth. In the same way a physical address or an e-mail address; the age verification is just a single check box at “own risk”.
It is worthy to stop over the risks. On one side, the targeted category does not have any means of defense beside the lawmaker.
On contraire, the aggressiveness with which the operators are realizing the marketing and remarketing, corroborated with the age specific curiosity, becomes a major risk factor which opens an endangering “universe”, where one danger opens the path for another.
It is very easy for a juvenile to make from any kind of divertissement a permanent preoccupation, which would be disastrously for the career and the future of the tomorrow adult.
On the other side, the sanctions can be very severe to those who break the law. It is already famous the record fine of… 600.000 pounds given by the Gambling Commission from Great Britain to such site, that broke the juvenile rights and the British legislation regarding the content exposure with high risk level to this age category.
In other states – Australia for instance – are drawn up public lists of the type “Children and Gambling Watch List”, in order to notify the large public – especially the parents! – regarding what games or game portals have noxious potential for minors. On the respective list a rating is shown up, just like in the case of other visual productions (movies, advertisements) and depending on this rating the user knows whether the respective game is or not dedicated to him.
Anyway, juveniles’ access on gambling portals seems to be in a much… fluid area than in the case of physical access in locations where these activities are running, and the authorities and operators must work together in order to transform the interdictions into law and into its abidance.