On 20 June 2018, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) upheld a complaint against the gambling operator Coral Interactive (Gibraltar) Ltd, on the basis that three adverts on its website were particularly likely to appeal to children. The publication of the ruling came only a week after the regulator ruled against m88.com and TGP Europe for similar failings. It is yet another example of the regulatory crack down that has started to gather pace since the industry-wide letter circulated back in October 2017 called for the take down of all “freely accessible” gambling adverts that would be likely to be of particular appeal to children.
Three different games were promoted on Coral’s website, all of which involved the use of animated characters. The first was ‘Rainbow Riches’ and showed an animated image that featured a rainbow, a pot of gold and a leprechaun standing on a yellow road. The second game was called ‘Fishin’ Frenzy’ and included an animated image of fishes swimming in the ocean, and the final game was ‘Lucky Wizard’ and showed an animated image of a wizard in front of a colourful background featuring bright green grass along with the name of the game being spelt in gold with magical stars/bolts around it.
The ASA’s ruling
Coral claimed it had conducted an extensive review of its website whereby all on-site games tiles and promotional material were checked to ensure that they were not in breach of any rules of the CAP Code, and in particular its rules around gambling ads not appealing to children. It presented several arguments that distinguished the characters and features of the ads from those that would appeal to children.
The ASA, however ruled against the operator, finding the ads to be likely to be of particular appeal to children and therefore in breach of rules 16.1, 16.3 and 16.3.12 of the CAP Code. They took particular issue with the use of “highly stylised” animated characters in all three ads, and also specifically called out the colourful backgrounds used in the ‘Rainbow Riches’ and ‘Fishin’ Frenzy’ adverts. In respect of the former, the ASA held that the inclusion of a “bright yellow road” was an “iconic fictional element in a famous children’s novel”.
A link to the full ASA Ruling on Coral's ads can be found here.