Bookies complain about bonus hunting, whilst increasing advertising exposure to minors.

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There have been several interesting news stories last week that I felt should be covered. So, rather than string out numerous blogs, I thought why not combine them to create a blog title that demonstrate why many people think bookies are morally corrupt.

Those that follow our blogs will know that we’re prone to a bit of bookie bashing. However, we do reserve these moments almost exclusively for when the bookies attempt to paint themselves as the victim. All, in a rather shameless attempt, to divert attention away from some of their slightly shadier business practices.

An article on Gambling Insider, looked into a recent survey that asked bookmakers what most concerned them. Amongst the common words of fraud, multi-accounting and regulations, came the words ‘bonus hunters’. Which staggeringly was in the top 5 biggest concerns.
If this seems slightly ridiculous, that’s because it is. How the industry can’t see the absurdity behind feeling threatened by something they themselves promote is beyond our comprehension. Unfortunately, the survey didn’t go as far as to directly ask these companies whether they hate people actually using the offers which are purposefully built to entice. We do wonder what their answer might have been.

What is slightly concerning, is that bookmakers seem to be increasingly pairing bonus hunting with the word fraud. All in a rather obvious attempt to subconsciously make the two words synonymous with each other. Of course, bonus hunting or matched betting, is not and likely never will be, classed as fraud.

All of this would not normally be enough to goad me into writing a blog. After all, bookies complaining about there not being enough gambling addicts is nothing new. However, it was the appearance of a second story, this time in The Times, that made this latest whinge by bookmakers particularly grating.

In an article entitled ‘Children exposed to huge rise in Gambling adverts’, we see detailed the extraordinary budgets that bookmakers in the UK wield. Whilst, I am not one to talk, the title of the article was perhaps a little overblown. However, the figures it presented do deserve our attention.

These show that the industry has spent £1.4billion on advertising since 2012, with online casinos doubling their marketing budgets over the past four years. Whilst parents, of course, have a responsibility to manage and educate their child’s consumption of TV and online behaviour, it is becoming increasingly apparent that an underage audience is being reached – perhaps on purpose. Gambling companies can only advertise after the 9pm watershed and during live sporting events. It is this second part which is causing increasing cause for concern. This problem is being compounded by a TV advertising spend by the bookmakers, 43% increase last year.

Google and Twitter, should not be exempt from scrutiny. It is, after all, their algorithms that allow bookmakers to promote their social media accounts to just about everyone. Last year, an investigation found numerous examples of under-age children following bookmaker social media accounts – and regularly seeing offers stating there was ‘easy money’ to be made.

Now, before I get any higher up on my horse, let me say that not all of this is the bookmaker’s fault. Advertising platforms and parents have their parts to play in this as well. However, I cannot stand it when bookmakers play the victim card, especially when their advertising spend is this high.

On a more positive note! The Mayweather v McGregor fight generated more than a few offers and there was some serious profit to be made. So, I hope you and our members cleaned up on these offers this weekend!