Online gambling companies are targeting low-income consumers and/or those who have a history of struggling with gambling addiction according to a report from the Guardian.
The online gambling industry is taking data from third-party companies to serve online gambling advertisements to these particular consumers that prove susceptible.
Whenever consumers go on social media or purchase anything online, their private information is recorded and then often used by marketing companies for targeted online advertising.
Anyone who goes online may notice ads popping up for products and services that they have expressed an interest in on other websites.
These data houses collect personal information ranging from names, addresses, and phone numbers to credit card information and insurance details. With this financial information, online gambling sites are able to focus in on consumers based on what they earn.
One digital marketer detailed his experience of working with one such online gambling company.
He said: ‘Third-party data providers allowed us to target their email lists with precision. Lower-income users were among the most successfully targeted segments. We could also combine segments, ie we could target users who are on less than ?25k a year, own a credit card and have three kids, via these providers.’
The morality of the practice has been questioned as having dubious ethical implications. It could be argued that serving a targeted ad to get someone to buy a product they could be interested in is harmless. However, can the same be said for serving an ad to someone who is desperate or has struggled with gambling in the past?
Most people would argue not. Labour MP for Swansea East, Carolyn Harris certainly doesn’t think so.
She said: ‘It just reaffirms my belief that the betting industry has no moral compass and are capable of exploiting the vulnerable in order to obtain the last pound out of them.’
She continued: ‘They are actively seeking out those who can least afford to be involved in gambling. I?m absolutely aghast that they use these hostile techniques in order to suck the life out of people. If we were to offer free cocaine to an addict, they?d find it very difficult to decline. The betting industry knows this and they are by token doing exactly the same thing.’