Opponents of the online gambling industry in the United States have claimed that recent advertisements are targeting youth and at-risk players. The reported evidence of unethical advertising is part of a concerted effort to reverse a 2011 decision by the Justice Department and Congress. The decision made years ago effectively made gambling online an activity that would be determined on the state level. Apparent screenshots seem to show internet casino sites‘ ads on websites either designed to help gambling addiction or directed at younger individuals.
The reality is that ads are not being placed on websites where they should not be. Instead, these displays are what is known as “retargeting ads” in the marketing industry. If an internet user visits an online casino or plays slots online, ads relevant to the user will start to appear on other sites as well. Further testing revealed that the sites accessed on a different device revealed completely different advertisements. However, online gambling opponents are having none of it. The individuals claim that unregulated advertising in general is a problem that needs to be addressed.
Advertisers admit that the current system is not perfect, but more of the responsibility lies with the actual website. Marketing affiliates can control what sites will show certain ads, but the ads can still appear on domains even with a restriction in place. A similar situation occurred in the UK during late 2017. Ads from agencies were slipping through regulatory loopholes, forcing the Committee of Advertising Practice to update its regulations. The UK advertising update will go into effect in May of 2018.
Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson is one prominent opponent of online casinos and has joined the fight to stop internet gambling. Ironically, two of Adelson’s casinos popped up in advertising on sites about gambling addiction. An anonymous individual in the casino service industry states that the evidence regarding unethical advertising is nothing more than a setup.
The United States has been buzzing with activity lately surrounding the online gambling market. New Jersey has reported continued growth through its online casinos and internet gaming, though online poker took a massive dive. Pennsylvania is another state gearing up to offer gambling products online, with only a few licenses left for private operators. Other states may be following suit when the issue can be voted on in upcoming sessions. If online gambling does become more prominent, players can bet on advertising regulations being updated.