Gambling risks becoming ‘normalised’ in the minds of many children because of the constant flow of advertisements, according to Government advisers.
A panel of experts called the Responsible Gambling Strategy Board warned that action needs to be taken to stop “increased exposure” to the adverts.
It highlighted figures that showed 70 per cent of 11 to 16-year-olds have been exposed to gambling advertising on social media.
“By not taking action, we are in danger of inadvertently conducting an uncontrolled social experiment on today’s youth, the outcome of which is uncertain but could be significant”, it said.
The report added: “Ideally, children and young people should not be exposed to marketing and advertising for gambling at all, let alone in the quantities now prevalent.”
It also raised concerns about the positioning of scratch cards alongside sweets and other items that appeal to children.
The Gambling Commission has announced that it will launch a review into scratch cards being sold by the National Lottery to those under the age of 18.
Gambling adverts on TV are currently banned before the watershed, but bingo and sports betting adverts around televised sporting events have exemptions.
BBC pundits Alan Shearer and Jermaine Jenas are currently being paid as ambassadors for betting firms Coral and Unibet.
The report comes as technology giant Apple has been heavily criticised for allowing a gambling advert to be shown to players of the Angry Birds game, which is rated as child-friendly.
One parent told The Times that the advert was seen frequently by his six-year-old son with “no way to get rid” of the advert, adding: “Apple should stop the developers from doing this”.