ASA Rules socially irresponsible betting ads to be withdrawn

United Kingdom

On 13th October 2021, the Advertising Standards Authority (“ASA”) ruled against the A&S Leisure Group t/a Napoleons Casinos. The ASA concluded that statements made on the website of Napoleons Casinos, a social media platform, as well as within the FAQs section of its website were socially irresponsible and suggested that consumers could gamble without restrictions breaching the UK Code of Non-Broadcast Advertising (“CAP Code”).

The Ads

On 16th August 2021 the following adverts and statements (“Ads”) were seen:

  1. “Enjoy unlimited gambling in all of our Napoleons Casinos…” on the home page of www.napoleons-casino.co.uk

  2. “Napoleons Casino & Restaurant……Unlimited Gaming Entry into Prize Draws Access to all our UK Branches” posted on a social media platform

  3. “If you produce appropriate ID you will have access to unrestricted gambling…” in the FAQ section under “What are the benefits of becoming a member?”

A complainant challenged whether the claims “unlimited gambling” and “unlimited gaming” were socially irresponsible. In addition, the ASA challenged whether “unrestricted gambling” was also irresponsible.

The ASA Ruling

It was concluded by the ASA that the Ads breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 16.1, 16.3 and 16.3.1.

The CAP Code states that ads must not portray, condone or encourage gambling behaviour that is socially irresponsible or that could lead to financial, social or emotional harm. 

Napoleons Casino explained in their response that, as a fully licensed casino operator required to comply with the Money Laundering Regulations, customers can either enter as “visitors” without verification or as “members” who need to produce full identification.  Visitors have to set a limit on their spend, but the limits do not apply to members – hence the term “unlimited gambling”. However, somewhat unsurprisingly, the ASA concluded that the overall impression of the claims in the Ads was that consumers could gamble without limits or restrictions, and therefore the Ads condoned or encouraged consumers to engage in irresponsible gambling behaviour that could lead to financial, social or emotional harm.

The A&S Leisure Group t/a Napoleons Casinos accepted the findings of the ASA, withdrawing the statements and have given assurances that they would no longer use the claims “unlimited” or “unrestricted” gambling or gaming in their ads. 

Article co-authored by Hamish Temporal