Young people are easily influenced by celebrities they idolize, including actors, singers, YouTubers, Instagrammers, Streamers and other social media stars. What these stars do, say and advertise, affects impressionable children. Although usually, this isn’t a problem, in some cases it can be. Especially when what is being promoted to children is gambling.
Gambling and YouTubers
Back in 2015, one of the worst cases of endorsing gambling among children occurred when UK YouTubers Nepenthez (Craig Douglas) and Dylan Rigby encouraged children to gamble FIFA Ultimate Team Coins on an online black market. The pair of YouTubers were reportedly caught when a mother heard her young teen son bragging to his friends about using the site FUT Galaxy (a FIFA gaming site) to place bets.
One 14-year-old boy reportedly lost £586 in just one day. Last year, the two YouTube stars admitted to encouraging children to gamble online playing the hugely popular video game FIFA. They were fined £265,000. Although a massive fine, due to the children and other fans the YouTubers attracted to FUT Galaxy, the site was reported to have made a £96,000 profit between July 2015 and February 2016.
Beyond this scandal, gambling ads have also occurred in vlogger videos on YouTube channels that have nothing to do with gambling. For instance, back in 2015, children and teens were reportedly exposed to gambling adverts when watching one of YouTube’s most popular vloggers, Zoella. While Zoella – a fashion and beauty vlogger – certainly wasn’t to blame for the ads, the fact remains that her videos are watched by millions of young girls across the globe. Since then, however, YouTube has made efforts to crack down on ad regulations.
Glamourous gambling – the celebrity effect
In addition to social media, there’s no question that celebrities along with the popularity of televised poker championships, like the World Series of Poker, has influenced people’s (young and old) interest in gambling and the desire to become rich. Actors, musicians, sports stars and other celebs are no strangers to gambling.
In fact, some celebrities can’t say no to casinos. Among the famous faces well-known for dropping some big cash at the casino card tables include actors Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Toby Maguire, and Charlie Sheen, as well as former NBA superstar Michel Jordan.
Underage Gambling is a growing problem
According to underage gambling research reported in the uniquely compiled “Play Responsibly” guide by responsible online casino PlayOJO, new gambling technology can make gambling more accessible to young people and also more attractive. This technology, such as what was used by the Unlawful FIFA-gambling YouTubers, makes gambling not only more accessible to young people, but also more socially acceptable.
Other internet gambling research from the University of Sydney has found that compared to the general adult population, adolescents and young adults appear to be gambling online at higher rates. This is cause for concern because gambling at a young age may lead to increased gambling activity in adulthood, which increases the risk of the development of problem gambling habits.
The bottom line is that social media stars and other celebrities have a lot of influence on their fans. As such, it’s important to limit children’s exposure to stars associated with gambling to prevent kids from seeing gambling as a socially acceptable behavior for them.