The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has weighed in with its thoughts on two gambling ads that were run in the UK over the summer. 

Complaints were filed against a TV ad from Betfair Casino, while GVC Holdings’ Foxy Games also came under fire for a paid ad which appeared in a Google search. 

The ASA deemed Foxy Games’ ad to be inappropriate but chose not to uphold the complaint directed towards Betfair Casino. 

GVC apologises for “human error” 

The Foxy Games ad in question was seen on 11th July 2020 and appeared as a paid advertisement in the online search term ‘Make Money Online’. Its copy read: “Earn Money Online – Foxy Games – Play Online”. 

Concerns were raised that the ad could lead to people thinking that bingo and slots could be used to make money online, rather than for leisure. And this was something that the ASA agreed with. 

“The CAP Code stated that advertisers must not suggest that gambling can be a solution to financial concerns, an alternative to employment or a way to achieve financial security. 

“We considered the claim ‘Earn Money Online’ suggested to consumers that the gambling system offered by the advertiser could be used to ‘earn’ money and therefore attain a regular source of income. We considered this had the effect of suggesting that gambling could be a way to achieve financial security. 

“We acknowledged that, on receipt of the complaint, the advertiser had taken action to address where their ads were served. However, we concluded that the ad suggested gambling was a way to achieve financial security and was therefore socially irresponsible.”

GVC has since taken down the ad, citing “human error” as the reason it was published. 

Betfair’s ad did not step out of line, according to the ASA

The Betfair Casino ad investigated also appeared in the summer of 2020. It was shown on TV and depicted a man fitting in a quick game on the Betfair app before boarding his flight. Complaints suggested that some could link this to playing in high-pressure situations. A voiceover saying “4 minutes and 53 seconds” was included, but Betfair argued that this was referring to how long was left before the flight gate closed. 

The operator also said that “great care” was taken to ensure that the ad was compliant with advertising regulations, while Clearcast had also given prior approval. 

In relation to this ad, the ASA said:

“The ASA considered that although the man was momentarily occupied with gambling, he was not distracted because he heard the ‘final call’ and appeared to have made his flight on time in a calm and collected manner without needing to rush. By contrast, others around him were rushing to board their flights.

“We did not consider that the ad gave the impression that people should gamble in situations where they were genuinely at risk of being distracted from an important task. We, therefore, concluded that the ad did not portray, condone or encourage gambling behaviour that was socially irresponsible, or portray gambling as indispensable or as taking priority in life.”