Home > Biddable youth. Sports and esports gambling advertising on twitter: appeal to children, young & vulnerable people.

Smith, Josh and Rossi, Raffaelo and Jones, Elliot and Inskip, Chris . (2019) Biddable youth. Sports and esports gambling advertising on twitter: appeal to children, young & vulnerable people. University of Bristol. 54 p.

PDF (Biddable youth: sorts and esports gambling advertising on twitter)

The scale and character of Twitter-based gambling advertising activity revealed in this report raises important questions for regulators, social media companies and the gambling industry. It shows that children and vulnerable groups are active in conversations around gambling, regularly consuming and sharing highly visual advertising. It shows new types of content arising, particularly around betting on esports, which are likely to be more appealing to children and young people and which make almost no reference to the risks associate with gambling.


In order to tackle these problems, existing regulations around access to gambling advertising need to be clarified and enforced. Where technical tools have been developed to restrict content based on age, these should be reviewed and applied; not only to the largest operators, but also to the less visible network of affiliates and tipsters sharing often huge quantities of content online.


Further, the proliferation of promotions likely to appeal to vulnerable groups - particularly involving ‘free’ and ‘matched’ betting - needs to be urgently examined, and the effects of this messaging on people’s gambling behaviour understood. Beyond this, the promotion of money motives for gambling as well as encouragement to make gambling a regular habit needs to be addressed. Two areas that require immediate attention are the use of under 25s in esports advertising and the clarification of the subjective “particular appeal to children” regulation in the context of the young demographic of the esports audience.


To achieve this, it is vital that regulators ensure that they are able to measure and understand the developing landscape of online discussion, and respond to new forms of gambling. Otherwise, damaging content, and its impact on children and vulnerable groups, is likely to remain prevalent but undetected - hidden in plain sight.

Item Type:Evidence resource
Publication Type:Report
Date:August 2019
Pages:54 p.
Publisher:University of Bristol
Related URLs:
Subjects:F Concepts in psychology > Non chemical addiction > Gambling
F Concepts in psychology > Non chemical addiction > Gaming / Internet / Phone addiction
J Health care, prevention and rehabilitation > Prevention by sponsor or setting > Sports based prevention
MP-MR Policy, planning, economics, work and social services > Marketing and public relations (advertising) > Internet retailing (online sales / dark web)
N Communication, information and education > Communication > Communication / social media > Internet / online
T Demographic characteristics > Adolescent / youth (teenager / young person)
VA Geographic area > Europe > United Kingdom

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