‘Irresponsible’ gambling ads pulled by watchdog

Two gambling ads have been banned for targeting children and linking gambling with sexual success, only months after the laws were relaxed.

Advertising watchdog, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), monitored ads placed in September and October last year after a change in the rules allowed companies to advertise on television and in newspapers.

Four television ads for online betting, placed by InterCasino, were banned for portraying slapstick humour and characters acting in a childlike way which, the ASA ruled, could appeal to children.

One of the ads featured characters rolling down a hill dressed in dice costumes. The ASA said that this replicated the style of television programmes, such as Channel 4′s Bansai, known to be popular among children and young people.

A print ad placed in The Times by Paddy Power, a company providing a high-risk form of gambling called ‘spread betting’, was also banned.

The ASA ruled that the Paddy Power ad, which showed a short man in a limousine with two glamorous women with the caption “Who says you can’t make money being short?” had “irresponsibly linked gambling with sexual success and enhanced attractiveness”.

The Gambling Act 2005 relaxed the laws on gambling advertising, allowing operators to advertise on television and in print media, subject to certain restrictions. The new rules came into force in September 2007.

According the Gambling Commission, gambling adverts must not:

  • Portray, condone or encourage gambling behaviour that is socially irresponsible or could lead to financial, social or emotional harm
  • Exploit the susceptibilities, aspirations, credulity, inexperience or lack of knowledge of children, young persons or other vulnerable persons
  • Suggest that gambling can be a solution to financial concerns
  • Link gambling to seduction, sexual success or enhanced attractiveness
  • Be of particular appeal to children or young persons, especially by reflecting or being associated with youth culture.
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