ASA investigates UK online gambling promo ads, pulls one.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) are continuing their warpath, in pursuit of any land-based or remote gambling operator in breach of regulatory standards. This week, it’s the ASA that’s dealing blows, following an investigation into several online casino and sports betting ads.
The subjects of the probe were Gibraltar’s Gala Interactive and the UK’s own Betfair. Having received complaints of potentially misleading advertisements appearing on television, the ASA deemed one commercial inappropriate, but let the others slide.
ASA Pulls Gala’s Online Gambling Promo Ad
The advertisement in question began attracting scrutiny from the ASA on May 5, 2018. The complaint accuses the company of being socially irresponsible; insinuating that gambling on casino games involves skill.
The commercial shows a man playing on his tablet, then making a gesture with his arm before spinning a plate on its side at high speed. As other characters look on, clapping and taking photos, a voice-over states:
“Ah, the tell-tale signs of a Gala Spins fan. A whirly spin of fun and games, just like the new Britain’s Got Talent Slingo game. Try it now and see if you’ve got the talent. Galaspins.com – now that’s Spincredible.”
The use of the phrase “see if you’ve got the talent” was the key in the ASA’s decision to pull the ad. The authority says the verbiage implies that “gambling involves skill”, and that, in that context, the ad “was an invitation to gamble online”.
Gala defended its commercial, claiming that the word “talent” was merely a reference to the TV show, Britain’s Got Talent, and that the plate-spinning stunt was a reference to a former participant on that show who spun plates.
Taking the gambling firm’s regards into account, the ASA still feels the ad violates CAP Code rules 17.3 and 17.3.1. The complaint was upheld; Gala ordered to remove the ad.
ASA Lets Betfair Online Casino Sports Ad Slide
The ASA investigated two commercials promoting Betfair Casino and Betfair Sports, as aired July 5, 2018.
In the first ad, a man walks through a door labeled “betfair CASINO”. He traverses a dark room, where images of casino games appear on the walls. He then looks at his mobile phone and plays a fruit-machine style slots game.
The second ad shows the same man entering a door depicting the Betfair logo. This time, a similar dark room depicts football matches and betting odds on the walls, with others watching, too. He stops at a large screen displaying a football match, looks at his phone and appears to place a bet.
The graphic content and voice-overs were not the issue for the ASA. Instead, the complaint surrounds the apparent age of the leading male. The CAP Code says gambling advertisements can’t depict someone who appears to be under 25-years-old.
Betfair responded to the complaint by confirming that the actor was 27 years of age, and providing proof that his identity and age had been verified prior to recording the commercial. Furthermore, ASA reports Betfair’s defense that the character was: “dressed smartly, which made him look older. He was not dressed in clothes which were associated with youth culture, nor did he behave in an adolescent, juvenile or loutish way in the ad.”
Upon investigation and consideration of Betfair’s response, the ASA did not find a breach of code. It was concluded that, while the character did appear youthful, his true age, actions and attire were not indicative of someone below the age of 25. The online gambling promo ad will continue to air.
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