The Masked Singer singing competition has triggered massive criticism after announcing a deal with the UK online gambling site and application PlayOJO.
As the Daily Star reported, Bandicoot, which is the production company of the show, revealed that it has inked an agreement under which it will launch some new digital games featuring themes associated with the Masked Singer show. Customers will be able to choose from slot games, bingo and scratchcards in return for the chance to get a maximum prize worth £200,000.
Probably one of the major reasons why the announcement unleashed such outrage is the fact that many of The Masked Singer’s fans are underage but the production bosses still decided to go ahead with the lucrative agreement despite knowing that. Furthermore, the games offered by the online gambling site are being popularised on Instagram, where according to estimates, there are over 2 million underage followers.
Considering the increased criticism faced by some gambling companies for targetting individuals under the age of 18, the newly-announced agreement has fuelled a wave of criticism after the news broke out. Some anti-gambling campaigners have addressed the show’s bosses to back off from the deal and reconsider joining forces with an online gambling company, especially at a time when online gambling participation has been on the rise in the UK.
British Gambling Charities Ask Bandicoot TV to Reconsider the Gambling App Deal
One of the representatives of the Clean Up Gambling organisation, Matt Zarb-Cousin, commented on the situation for the Daily Star, saying that the deal came as an example of a gambling company using a popular TV show that happened to be found particularly appealing by children to advertise its services.
He also criticised the regulators that there was no cap on the stakes that could be made on slot games online. Moreover, Mr Zarb-Cousing reminded that the majority of online gambling companies do not make adequate affordability checks on their customers before allowing them to place bets. He shared that, in his opinion, Bandicoot TV should reconsider its decision to create a link between The Masked Singer brand and games that are considered to feature such high rates of gambling-related harm.
The boss of the leading UK gambling charity organisation GambleAware, Marc Etches, said that such deals could make gambling look normal to children, especially when it comes to the promotion of gambling by well-known family entertainment programmes.
The criticism and growing concerns, however, did not shake Bandicoot’s decisiveness to proceed with the agreement as planned. Bandicoot also explained that its agreement with PlayOJO is in line with the strict industry standards and complies with the UK laws. The company further confirmed that the games in questions would be available only for adult players over the age of 18 and the gambling company has made sure it has all the required safeguarding measures in place in order to protect its customers.
Following the wave of criticism, PlayOJO has confirmed that players are required to verify their age before being allowed to bet. The company also said it uses a range of tools to ensure safer gambling and to check the affordability of its customers in order to prevent them from spending more they can actually afford to.
For the time being, The Masked Singer is not the only TV show that is offered on gambling websites and apps. Some betting sites also offer betting on Britain’s Got Talent and Saturday Night Takeaway.