Toronto Mike

Canadian youth need to be protected from gambling advertising

Recently, the amount of advertising in the field of online gambling and sports betting has noticeably increased. Often, these advertisements become permanent fixtures at live sporting events, featured in sports arenas, integrated into analytics segments, and even endorsed by celebrity athletes.

This increase in advertising reach comes as more companies are starting to offer online gambling products such as casino games and sports betting.

This means that young people receive a lot of information about gambling opportunities and may become interested in them despite explicit disclaimers and advertising policies.

Young people watching the game at home or following it on social media can now see their favorite player supporting a sports betting site or a sports analyst discussing betting in his commentary. All this can confuse young people since participation in gambling is officially prohibited for minors, but the ever-increasing volume of marketing activity attracts their attention and arouses interest.

What the research says

New research from the UK has found that gambling advertising, and eSports advertising in particular, has a higher appeal to children and young people than to adults. Even harmless sites with cash bonuses, examples of which can be seen right here, can play a role in the development of addiction.

Previous studies have already indicated the significant impact of gambling advertising on young people:

• According to the data, 42 percent of young people admit that gambling advertising makes them want to try their hand at gambling;

• 61 percent of young people imagine or dream of a purchase they could make with their winnings.

This is particularly concerning because early exposure to gambling among minors is a risk factor for problem gambling. It should be noted that teenagers and young adults have a much greater chance of encountering gambling addiction (gaming addiction) than adults.

How is the government addressing the issue of preventing the development of gambling addiction?

The YMCA's Youth Gambling Awareness Program (YGAP) aims to provide young people with information about possible gambling problems and to prevent such problems among minors.

YGAP is a free project funded by the Ontario Ministry of Health. It aims to overcome misconceptions associated with gambling, raise awareness of the possible harm that gambling can cause to health, social, and financial well-being, and inform solutions based on reliable evidence.

Given the wide range of gambling problems and the increasing exposure of youth to them, resources, education, and promotion of critical thinking and informed decision-making are critical.

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