A gambling advert featuring fluffy animals has been branded “irresponsible” for targeting young children.
Online casino Gala Spins had promoted the eight-second advert on Facebook, where it could potentially be viewed by youngsters.
But the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) has banned the advert for breaching rules prohibiting advertising gambling to children.
In its assessment, the UK’s advertising watchdog said the “cartoon-like imagery of five stuffed toy animals” was “likely to appeal to under-18s”.
The marketing slogans “Fluffy Favourites” and “It’s a rollercoaster of cuteness!” were also considered by the regulators to strengthen the child-like appeal of the advert.
The ASA ruled the advert “must not appear again in its current form” and told the company to ensure all future adverts did not appeal more strongly to young people than they did to adults.
Last year the ASA found that five gambling firms had been illegally targeting children as young as six with online betting adverts.
During a two-week probe, the regulator discovered that 23 gambling ads appeared 151 times across eleven children’s websites.
According to Guy Parker, Chief Executive of the ASA: “The ASA is using technology to proactively monitor online ads to help build a culture of zero tolerance for age-restricted ads appearing on websites aimed at children.
“We expect advertisers and the parties they contract with to use the sophisticated tools available to them to target their ads responsibly.”