TikTok has been criticized for continuing its trial of partnerships with gambling firms under which operators can run advertisements targeted at young people and women in Australia. 

The Chinese-owned company previously banned gambling ads, but late last year, it allowed online gambling firm Sportsbet to promote its services to Australian users through the social media platform, which received backlash from anti-gambling campaigners and public health experts.

TikTok Now Running Ads from Dabble and Neds

TikTok appears to be undeterred by widespread criticism as it now expanded the trial to include two new gambling companies, Dabble and Neds. 

The move went under the radar and was only discovered when the platform began showing ads promoting the two online gambling sites. An ad linked to Neds encourages TikTok users to download its app, while Dabble partnered with Australian football star Dane Swan to reach young audiences.

Gambling Firms One Step Ahead of Govt.

A TikTok spokesperson said the ads are targeted at users aged 21 and above, and customers have the option to stop the ads from appearing in their feeds via an opt-out feature. 

The fact that gambling firms are now trying to promote their products via new channels to target new customer demographics shows that they are always one step ahead of regulators, according to Simone McCarthy, a research fellow at Deakin University focusing on women and gambling-related harm.