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The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has published its latest survey which reveals the impact of gambling advertising on customers. The survey included data from 6258 respondents.

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Of the 4,566 respondents who had gambled in the past 12 months, 34% said that a post or media had prompted them to spend money on a gambling activity in that period.

Free bets or money to spend with a gambling company was the most likely to prompt a customer to engage in gambling, with 22% of gamblers reporting doing so.

Advertising on social media and TV had each prompted 15% of gamblers to gamble in the last 12 months. Direct marketing, sports sponsorships and newspaper advertising prompted 9%, 8% and 7%, respectively.

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The Gambling Commission also asked those who had reported seeing gambling ads how, if at all, those ads had changed their gambling habits.

Of those respondents who had reported seeing traditional advertising from gambling companies – such as television or print ads – 52.8% said that the advertising had not changed the amount that they gambled.

Meanwhile, 13.0% said such ads prompted them to start gambling for the first time, while 16.3% said these traditional ads prompted them to increase the amount that they gamble.

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A further 14.7% were prompted to restart gambling after taking a break from the activity because of these ads. Meanwhile, 10.1% said the ads prompted them to change what they gambled on or try a new form of gambling.

Free bets or money to spend with a gambling company was shown to be the most effective new customer acquisition method, as 25.9% of those who had gambled in the last 12 months and seen posts or advertising said that free bets prompted them to start gambling for the first time.

Free bets also led to 18.6% of viewers restarting gambling after taking a break.

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Of the advertising methods examined, the Gambling Commission said free bets had the lowest rate of responses saying they had not changed the amount that respondents gambled, at just 35.2%.

Direct marketing via email, text message or push notification appeared to be more effective with existing or lapsed customers, however. It was cited by most respondents as prompting them to increase the amount they gambled, at 21.8%. It was also the method that prompted most people to restart gambling after taking a break, at 19.6%.

The figures also showed that 85% of those surveyed reported having seen any gambling advertising or sponsorship. In total, 83% reported having seen advertising and 78% having seen sponsorship.

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These figures are down on 2019’s survey which showed 87% of people had seen advertisements or sponsorships, with 86% seeing advertisements and 82% sponsorships.

Television advertising was the most widely seen format for gambling advertising, with 76% of respondents reporting seeing this.

Gambling sponsorships on TV, radio or podcasts were the next most common format for people to see, at 67%. Other common places to see gambling advertising or sponsorships were on sports merchandise (60%), in sports venues (59%) and online outside social media (56%).

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The least common reported place to see a gambling advertisement was via direct marketing, either by email, text message or push notification, which 37% of respondents reported seeing.

The data showed that young people are more likely to see gambling advertising online, with 77% of people aged 18 to 24 saying they had seen gambling ads online, compared to 55% of those 65 and over.

Of those surveyed, most (68%) said they use social media but don’t follow gambling operators or companies. Meanwhile, 17% said they do not use social media or streaming platforms, and 16% said they do follow or watch gambling companies.

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