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Gambling is a booming business in Australia. Hundreds of online casinos offer real money games, like slot machines and table games. While online gambling is legal in the country, the market is facing big challenges, especially with advertisements that target the minor.
The recent move by two gambling companies to run ads targeting young people and women on TikTok has been criticized by lawmakers and authorities. The decision to increase the number of gambling ads on social media platforms undermines the federal government’s action to restrict broadcast marketing. Researchers have warned that gambling operators are always one step ahead of authorities and are always looking for new demographics to explore.
“The sports betting companies have switched on and are moving to these platforms where governments are not looking.”Simone McCarthy
It was last year when TikTok was widely criticized by Australian public health experts for violating its anti-gambling stance. The company had secretly allowed the Australian-based operator, Sportsbet, to run ads on the platform. Sportsbet was accused of publishing trial adverts that encouraged women to gamble. This was a strategy to boost the number of female gamblers on the website. The operator hired TikTok influencers to create content that indirectly lures women.
What was a mere trial has now expanded to two more casinos, Neds and Dabble. Neds has been accused of encouraging users to download its gambling ads, while Dabble is using the influence of former AFL Dane Swan to increase its fan base.
While defending the company against ongoing critics, a TikTok spokesperson said, “Advertisements are targeted at those aged 21 years and over, there is a frequency cap at which the ads are shown, and there is an opt-out feature for those who do not wish to see the ads.”
Source: The Guardian