The Racing Post, horse racing's newspaper, has temporarily suspended publication of its print edition, leaving a number of its journalists temporarily stood down while the operation's news service continues online.
In a letter to readers in Thursday's
edition, Tom Kerr, the Post's editor, says that unfortunately, with racing in Britain and Ireland halted, betting shops closed and our governments urging everyone to stay at home as much as possible, we have been left with no other choice. He added:
However, we will continue to publish on racingpost.com and on the Racing Post mobile app, ensuring that racing professionals, punters and fans of the sport are informed and entertained for however long this shutdown might
GambleAware is an anti-gambling campaign group. It commissioned a survey from Ipso MORI to showcase GambleAware's concerns about the amount of TV adverts for gambling products and to support its claim that gambling adverts normalise gambling in the
eyes of children.
The survey examines the frequency and format of gambling advertising and marketing, and the exposure among children, young people and adults.
The rsurvey was carried out by two consortia led by Ipsos MORI and the Institute for
Social Marketing at the University of Stirling. The research is also part of the Gambling Commission's research programme and forms a key part of the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms.
The interim results found that, between 2015-2018, the
volume and spend on gambling marketing and advertising is on the rise across different forms of media, including TV and radio, with lotteries and bookmakers among the top spenders. Sports advertising was particularly dominant online, with exposure
compounded further by sponsorship used within broadcasts of live events.
In addition to advertising and marketing, the researchers identified other factors contributing to the wide exposure of gambling within society, including the role of family
and friends in introducing them to gambling. Many revealed they had experienced exposure to gambling activity from an early age in a range of settings.
Across the board, there was mixed levels of awareness and understanding of messages relating to
risk or safer gambling among participants. The research also identified little evidence of prominent consumer protection messages -- such as age warnings or promotion of lower-risk gambling. Therefore, more could be done to clearly highlight the risks of
gambling within advertising and marketing.
In light of this, researchers claim that some advertising may exploit the susceptibility, inexperience or lack of knowledge of children, young people or vulnerable adults. Over a fifth (22%) of mainstream
media adverts were judged to contain features such as implied limited risk or inflated chances of winning; this rose to 37% on Twitter.
The final phase of the research and subsequent findings will focus more on the impact of gambling marketing and
advertising and will be published later in 2019. The outcome of today's stakeholder event, which presents an opportunity to discuss and build on some of the key issues that have emerged, will also be released later this year.
MPs have urged online gambling firms to impose a temporary betting cap of £50 a day during the Covid-19 crisis, as evidence emerged that they are pushing punters towards riskier wagers in the absence of mainstream sport.
With events such as the
Premier League and Grand National cancelled, gambling companies are heavily promoting obscure sporting competitions, computer-generated virtual sports and online casino games.
An internal email sent by a senior manager at William Hill, seen by the
Guardian, advises staff to talk to your customers about what other things they can bet on -- table tennis and Japanese baseball are proving very popular.
In a letter to industry trade body the Betting & Gaming Council, MPs in a cross-party group
examining gambling-related harm urged firms not to put protection of their finances before customers' wellbeing. Labour's Carolyn Harris, the Conservatives' Iain Duncan Smith and SNP MP Ronnie Cowan wrote:
We are deeply
concerned that as we go deeper into this crisis, more and more people will turn to online gambling as a distraction.
If the industry were to self-impose a daily limit of £50 ... it would be a clear demonstration that the industry
is willing to act responsibly and do what they can to protect society and peoples' finances, at this dreadful time.
Report of the inquiry into age verification for online wagering and online pornography
House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal
The Committee’s inquiry considered the potential role for online age verification in protecting children and young people in Australia from exposure to online wagering and
Evidence to the inquiry revealed widespread and genuine concern among the community about the serious impacts on the welfare of children and young people associated with exposure to certain online content,
The Committee heard that young people are increasingly accessing or being exposed to pornography on the internet, and that this is associated with a range of harms to young people’s health, education,
relationships, and wellbeing. Similarly, the Committee heard about the potential for exposure to online wagering at a young age to lead to problem gambling later in life.
Online age verification is not a new concept. However, the
Committee heard that as governments have sought to strengthen age restrictions on online content, the technology for online age verification has become more sophisticated, and there are now a range of age-verification services available which seek to
balance effectiveness and ease-of-use with privacy, safety, and security.
In considering these issues, the Committee was concerned to see that, in so much as possible, age restrictions that apply in the physical world are also
applied in the online world.
The Committee recognised that age verification is not a silver bullet, and that protecting children and young people from online harms requires government, industry, and the community to work together
across a range of fronts. However, the Committee also concluded that age verification can create a significant barrier to prevent young people—and particularly young children—from exposure to harmful online content.
Committee’s recommendations therefore seek to support the implementation of online age verification in Australia.
The Committee recommended that the Digital Transformation Agency lead the development of standards for online age
verification. These standards will help to ensure that online age verification is accurate and effective, and that the process for legitimate consumers is easy, safe, and secure.
The Committee also recommended that the Digital
Transformation Agency develop an age-verification exchange to support a competitive ecosystem for third-party age verification in Australia.
In relation to pornography, the Committee recommended that the eSafety Commissioner lead
the development of a roadmap for the implementation of a regime of mandatory age verification for online pornographic material, and that this be part of a broader, holistic approach to address the risks and harms associated with online pornography.
In relation to wagering, the Committee recommended that the Australian Government implement a regime of mandatory age verification, alongside the existing identity verification requirements. The Committee also recommended the
development of educational resources for parents, and consideration of options for restricting access to loot boxes in video games, including though the use of age verification.
The Committee hopes that together these
recommendations will contribute to a safer online environment for children and young people.
Lastly, the Committee acknowledges the strong public interest in the inquiry and expresses its appreciation to the individuals and
organisations that shared their views with the Committee.