On 26 July the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) issued rulings against online gambling operators LeoVegas and Coral for breaches of the CAP and BCAP codes respectively. In the case of LeoVegas, the ASA found that the advert in question was misleading and not obviously identifiable as a marketing communication, whilst the Coral ad was held to be socially irresponsible.
ASA Ruling on LeoVegas Gaming Ltd
A tweet from King Casinos UK stated “It still hasn’t been fixed!”. Beneath this post was a link stating “Big wins for Brits after online casino’s ‘glitch’”. There was in fact no ‘glitch’ or fault with the system; the tweet merely linked to a page with a LeoVegas bonus offer giving consumers free spins.
Two complainants challenged the ad on the grounds that it was misleading, as it implied that a fault with LeoVegas’ website was allowing consumers to win more readily. In addition to this, the ASA challenged the advert on the basis that it did not make its commercial intent clear.
The ASA found that consumers would interpret the tweet as meaning that they were able to win large amounts because of the supposed ‘glitch’ and as a result held that it was in breach of rule 3.1 (Misleading advertising) of the CAP Code. The regulator also concluded that the advert breached rules 2.1 and 2.3 of the CAP Code for not being obviously identifiable as a marketing communication and not making clear its commercial intent, respectively. The tweet gave the impression that it would link to editorial content about how consumers could take advantage of the glitch. However, only after clicking on the link did it become apparent that the tweet was a marketing communication and that it provided a link to a page advertising a bonus offer from LeoVegas.
The full report of the hearing is available here.
ASA Ruling on Coral Interactive (Gibraltar) Ltd
A TV ad for Coral featured clips of footballers playing football with a voice-over stating: “The beautiful game you can watch it or you can get involved in it with the latest Coral action. So are you a spectator or are you a player? You decide. Coral. Get in on the action.” Two complainants challenged the ad on the grounds that it is harmful to consumers and irresponsible because the voice-over implied that gambling on the sport was better than watching it and that only gamblers were true ‘players’.
Whilst the ASA recognised that the ad was neither pushy nor aggressively promoting gambling, it upheld the complaint. It considered that the overall tone of the ad implied that gambling on football was more exciting than simply being a spectator. The emphasis on the word ‘player’ in the voice-over contributed to the ASA forming this overall impression, as did the phrase “Get in on the action”. The regulator held that the latter implied that those who gamble are more involved or invested in the game than that those who do not.
The ASA concluded that the ad breached BCAP Code rule 17.3.5, as it was likely to suggest peer pressure to gamble and disparage abstention, and rule 17.3.6, as it unduly suggested that gambling could enhance personal qualities. The ad was also held to have breached rule 1.2 of the BCAP Code, which places a general social responsibility obligation on advertisers.
The full report of this hearing is available here.