Estimated 45% of U-16s Worldwide Engage with Esports Betting Tweets

Demos and University of Bristol publish survey on U16-s engagement with esports betting tweets Online gambling firms use GIFS, memes and funny stories to attract young potential customers More control needed amid quickly growing esports market which will hit $30bn in 2020

A new survey by the University of Bristol and Demos has revealed that 28% of U-16s children in the United Kingdom share and follow esports betting content.

Underage Esports Fans Share Betting Tweets

Demos,a research firm, and the Universityof Bristol’s Department of Managementhave posted a new report, ‘BiddableYouth Report’ indicatingthat 28% of people who re-tweeted esports betting related news wereunder 16 years old in the United Kingdom.

The findings, co-authors Bristol professor Agnes Nairn and Josh Smith say, should serve as a wake-up call for the industry. In any event it confirms something we at have long had a suspicion about – the number of esports betting fans who are not of the legal age to place a bet is growing. It’s possible that online gambling companies are using clever marketing content to that end specifically, however.

As the professional playing of computer games grows in popularity with children, so does #esports betting ?

New research from @UoBrisEFM and @Demos shows 28% of those engaging with esports betting tweets in the UK are under 16.

— Bristol University ? (@BristolUni) August 20, 2019

Based on the survey, the number of esports betting aficionadosexceeds that of regular sports fans five-to-one. Meanwhile, thesurvey has also established that by allowing children under the ageof 16 to tweet about esports betting, they were defying UKadvertising rules.

Extrapolating from the UK ps, the number of underage would-beesports bettors reaches the impressive 45%, worldwide, anumber that shows that the esports betting industry is only nowshifting into a gear right now.

Flouting UK Advertising Regulations

Based on the analysis, 74% of all esports tweets and 68% oftraditional sports tweets were already non-complaint withestablished advertising rules. Some of the examples cited byresearchers were children sharing posts about:

Gamblingas a genuine source of incomeEncouragingbets on certain gamesShowingyoung people placing wagers

Basedon these findings, the report said that “Asmost professional esports players are in this age bracket the rulesare flouted again and again.” Thespecific age group in the instances where young people were shownbetting on esports were individuals under the age of 25 year old, theauthors explained.

To address the issue, the authors of the survey called for better age verification processes as well as a tightener control over who sees the ads and how people are targeted. A Mario Kart advertisement was pulled off in September, 2018 when the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) accused William Hill of intentionally targeting underage audience.

WilliamHill responded by arguing that ultimately whoever saw the ad dependedon Google algorithms rather than any company’s decision.

Sky has been one of the companies to say that a previously-agreed voluntary water-shed ban spearheaded by betting companies in the United Kingdom is not sufficient. According to the broadcaster’s CEO, Stephen van Rooyen, sportsbooks were simply migrating online.

Save the Kids fromEsports Betting, Authors Say

Overall,the authors of the study stated that further research would be neededto identify what was driving children to bet on the outcome ofesports – or at least follow and re-share such content.Specifically, the authors recommended that the exact images, videosand other materials should be identified and restricted.

Accordingto Mr. Nairn, the number of individuals involved with esports bettingwill only be going up:

“Withthe massive growth in the esports industry, unless action is taken,we can only expect this p to rise as sports and gambling seem tobe inextricably linked.”

Mr.Nairn was particularly well-versed in the vernacular of the Internet,explaining that the targeting of younger individuals was done throughclever ploys such as GIFS,memes,picturesand funnystories.

“Ourin-depth analysis of the content of gambling advertising Tweets leadsus to believe that children’s esports gambling is currently underthe radar in two ways: it’s online where parents won’t see it andit’s using clever content marketing.”

Meanwhile,Mr. Smith elaborated further on how children are targeted. The use ofspecific content led to higher engagement from a younger crowd. As aresult, thousands of children in the United Kingdom responded to andfollowed the content.

“We hope this report serves as a call to action – both to technology companies to make it easier for gambling customers to get a clear picture of what they’re getting into, and to regulators who must continue to ensure that t lodi646 hese new actors are compliant with regulation.”

TheBiddable Youth Report is also important not only because it serves asa levy against the oncoming waves of esports betting, but alsobecause it gives an estimation of the value of the market –estimated $30 billion by 2020.

GambleAwareCEO Marc Etcheshas said that one in eight children aged 11 to 16 presently followedan esports gambling-related tweet. With the UK being at the forefrontof enforcing socially responsible gaming practices, companies andregulators will have to tighten their regulation of onlinegambling,specifically insofar as the esports verticals are involved.

What Do Some EsportsPersonalities?

We recently spoke with Ian Smith, Commissioner of the Esports Integrity Coalition (ESIC), who said that it’s mostly a myth that most esports players are underage. Mr. Smith was only referring to the age necessary for most players to be at the peak of their abilities – which wasn’t ‘underage’. Here’s what he said:

Itis true that gamers skew young, but to reach elite levels in esports(as opposed to just being good at a game) takes a long time and a lotof practice, so, by the time players reach the pro level, they tendto be over 18.

On a similar note, we had a chance to pick Bayes’ Mark Balch’s brain about underage betting. Here is what Mr. Balch shared with us:

Ibelieve there is no difference to sport. Kids also love football, whywould that not also invite a young audience to bet? Betting companiesand casinos are on the shirts of their favourite players in thePremier league. Why is this an esports only problem?

BothMr. Smith and Mr. Balch have a point there. Yet, advertisingmaterials that specifically target children could be a problem. Whilein principle esports will attract a young crowd – much like regularsports do as a matter of fact – it would ultimately be up to thecompanies and regulators to keep advertisement responsible.

The report in its entirety can be accessed at the website of the university and is an informative read in its entirety.

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