The Daily Mail took pot shots at an online slot game over the weekend, criticising Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway game from a top developer, and reporting that it has been accused of exploiting young fans of the popular UK television show on which the 5 reel, 40 pay-line slot is themed.
The ITV show has a viewership of over 8 million, and the slot portrays a number of familiar elements from the show, including pre-recorded clips of the two presenters talking to gamblers as they play.
Players on the online casino sites offering the game must be over 18 years of age, and there are strict UK gambling regulations in force controlling how online gambling services may be advertised or publicised.
John Myers, whose son Ryan, 27, took his own life in 2014 after running up online gambling debts, criticised Ant and Dec for their involvement in the slot, claiming:
“Ant and Dec doing this annoys me. Pushing gambling like this makes it socially acceptable. It never shows the heart-breaking downside.”
The Mail also interviewed Matt Zarb-Cousin, of Campaign For Fairer Gambling, who said:
‘Young people will have grown up with Ant and Dec’s show, so that makes this game all the more tempting.”
ITV pointed out:
“Users must be over 18 to sign up. There are also strict rules in place on how the service can be advertised. Ant and Dec feature as part of the show, rather than a direct endorsement.”’