How The Gambling Industry Targets Former Gamblers

By Tom Chadwick, Media Director

POOR people and ex-gamblers are routinely targeted by the gambling industry with enticing offers, according to reports from industry insiders and those on the receiving end of the cynical marketing ploy.

Problem gamblers who have kicked the habit revealed how they received numerous emails offering them free bets as they continue to battle their addictions. The offers, they said, were nothing less than an attempt to lure them back into problem gambling, which gambling companies make much of their profits from.

Many online gambling companies are now looking at swathes of customer data using analytics and artificial intelligence in order to devise marketing strategies. However, digital marketing insiders revealed recently that lower income users as well as those whose accounts had laid dormant were amongst the most successfully targeted segments.

Data collection is now a huge business with companies collecting information on age, income, debt and credit information. The industry insider claimed that this data was then used to target specific data sets with advertising. A particularly successful marketing drive aimed it’s sights on those earning less than £25k a year, with three children and a credit card.

Members of a gambling support group, who wished to remain anonymous, said that they routinely received marketing emails, sometimes months after they had placed their last bet, with companies appearing to target them with offers which were not sent to other gamblers.

One user said “I get them all the time, even for a company that banned me from their site because I gambled too much and could not prove where my money was coming from”.

The method, known as “dynamic re-targeting” singles out site users who have not gambled for a while in an attempt to entice them to pick up the habit again, potentially endangering their recovery.

A quick online search revealed marketing companies advising strategies for their gambling industry clients. One site states “cross-channel re-targeting ensures you’re reaching all of the most relevant, high-value users”. One of the most targeted sites is Facebook, which can target the chosen user with seemingly infinite gambling advertisements in their feed.

According to national gambling charity GambleAware it is not possible to remove ads from Facebook, either on the desktop site or the app. However, users can hide them by selecting the down arrow menu or the ‘x’ in the top right corner of the sponsored post.

Users can also update their preferences by clicking on the top right corner of the ad, followed by clicking “Why am I seeing this?” and then “hide all ads from [advertiser name]”.

Many ex-gamblers expressed their shock that they could not block gambling adverts on Facebook, with one user saying it’s possible to block ads for alcohol, parenting and pets but surprisingly not gambling. Another ex-gambler described the situation as “very disturbing”, commenting that it was possible to download an app which blocked normal gambling websites but did not work at blocking Facebook casinos which they had since become addicted to.

It can be practically impossible to keep data from being used for marketing purposes if gambling sites have been used. Lengthy terms and conditions often contain small print that data will be shared or kept for marketing purposes. Therefore, the ex problem gambler or anyone who wishes to stop receiving gambling advertisements is at a disadvantage.

In order to minimise exposure, internet users can install any of a number of apps designed to block access to betting sites. Facebook users can follow the steps above. But even with the above steps, former gamblers still report receiving gambling adverts. It is best to remain vigilant in order to avoid temptation.

If you are being affected by any of the issues raised in this piece, please do not hesitate to contact CIS for a free, no obligation consultation. We are now offering a specific product to assist the public with issues related to this article.

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CIS Specialists are a Private & Commercial Investigator, based in Cardiff, Wales, but providing coverage of both the entire UK and internationally. Our services include, but are not limited to People Tracing, Surveillance, Background Checking, Employer and Landlord Services, Car and Asset Tracking & Recovery, Insurance Investigations and Services, Domestic & Data Protection matters, Training & Consultation.