Five times more than on television ads, according to Regulus Partners and GambleAware

Gambling companies spend USD1.5 billion marketing online

Direct online internet marketing costs – USD954,5m, almost half (48%) of total gambling marketing spend.
Reading time 1:56 min
The new figures indicate that 'Direct online internet marketing costs' and 'Advertising through marketing affiliates’ are the two leading categories where top publicly listed operators spent the most money on marketing in 2017.

New financial analysis from Regulus Partners has estimated that the total spend by gambling companies on marketing has gone up by 56% since 2014, and has now hit USD1.9bn.

Most marketing activity is now on the internet, with companies spending five times more online than on television. The new figures, derived from audited accounts of the top publicly listed operators and other available financial data for private and offshore companies, indicate the areas where gambling companies spent the most money on marketing in 2017:

Direct online internet marketing costs – USD954,5m, almost half (48%) of total gambling marketing spend

Advertising through marketing ‘affiliates’ – websites, tipsters and publications who earn commission for generating new business for the gambling companies – USD385m, nearly one fifth (19%) of total expenditure

TV gambling advertising – USD299m, just 15% of total gambling marketing spend

Social media – USD190,3m, more than tripling over three years, and 10% of total gambling marketing spend

Sponsorship – USD77m, double the amount spent in 2014 (USD38m).

80% of all gambling marketing spend is now online. There has been significant debate about the amount of advertising by bookmakers, bingo websites and virtual casinos on television, but these figures shine a light onto the huge amount of money being spent promoting gambling on the internet. Detailed marketing expenditure is considered commercially confidential, so obtaining definitive figures is not possible. But Regulus Partners have applied similar techniques used by city analysts to generate estimates which will have strong credibility within the gambling industry, and clearly indicate the relative extent of online marketing activity.

Marc Etches, CEO of GambleAware said:

“Children are growing up in a very different world than their parents. The Gambling Commission reports that 59% of 11-16 year olds have seen gambling advertisements on social media, compared to 66% on television. One in eight 11 to 16-year-olds follow gambling companies on social media, and they are three times more likely to spend money on gambling. Of those who have ever played online gambling-style games, 24% follow gambling companies online. Compared to other potentially harmful activities, the rate of gambling in the past week among young people is higher than the rates of drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes and taking illegal drugs. This underlines the need to treat gambling as a public health issue."

"The Regulus analysis shows that much more attention needs to be paid to the extent of gambling-related marketing online, and that internet companies and social media platforms must share in the responsibility to protect children, and to generally raise awareness of the nature of gambling, associated risks of harm, and where to go for help and advice if it is needed,” concluded Etches.

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