Regulating Online Advertising for Gambling – once the Genie is out of the Bottle … 

Julia Hörnle, Maria Jose Schmidt-Kessen, Alan Littler, Eranjan Padumadasa

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The article focuses on advertising for online gambling products on social media platforms and examines advertising practices from the viewpoint of consumer fairness. It shows how online advertising is fundamentally different from traditional advertising in print media, offline media sites (such as billboards) and broadcasting. The growth of social media usage has created an opportunity for online advertising to exploit ways of advertising which are only beginning to be understood fully and receive regulatory attention, and which, therefore, may exploit current regulatory loopholes. In this article, we identify two major issues in respect of online advertising of online gambling: first the potential for unethical placing of gambling advertising targeted at vulnerable users, and secondly the opaque use of commercial advertising in user-generated content on social media platforms. Having identified these two problems of gambling advertising, we take stock of how the existing regulatory structures deal with gambling advertising online, with a view to making recommendations on how to tackle these problems. We argue that data protection law and gambling regulation have not yet satisfactorily addressed these issues and that a much more radical approach is needed, as set out in the article.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInformation and Communications Technology Law
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)311-334
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019

Bibliographical note

Published online: 9. September 2019


  • Online gambling
  • Regulation
  • Advertising
  • Advertising exchanges
  • Online profiling
  • Influencers
  • Affiliates
  • Social media regulation
  • Consumer protection
  • Data protection law
  • Algorithms
  • Vulnerable

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