The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned a paid-for online search engine ad released by Foxy Games but confirmed that a TV ad for Betfair Casino did not infringe the BCAP Code.
Foxy Games Ad
The Foxy Games ad displayed the phrase “Earn Money Online – Foxy Games – Play Online” when the phrase “make money online” was searched for on the online search engine. The complainant claimed that this was irresponsible as it suggested consumers could achieve financial security through slots and bingo games. In response, ElectraWorks Ltd (trading as Foxy Games) said that the ad appeared as a result of human error and had since been removed.
The ASA agreed with the complainant’s argument, stating 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.” The ASA held that the words “Earn Money Online” suggested that gambling could be a way to achieve financial security, labelling the advert “socially irresponsible”.
Betfair Casino Ad
The Betfair Casino TV ad showed a man in an airport calmly sitting down and playing Betfair Casino while others rushed around to catch their flights. The man then made his flight without any panic or difficulty. The complainant alleged that the ad was irresponsible as it showed someone gambling in a time-pressured situation and therefore portrayed gambling as taking priority in life.
Betfair Casino noted that the ad had been approved by Clearcast and that great care had been taken to ensure that it complied with the BCAP Code. They argued that elements of the ad, such as a voiceover announcing an average time of 4 minutes and 53 seconds between the final call and boarding closing, illustrated that the man only intended to have a quick game. They pointed out that the man was on his own, negating any suggestion that gambling should take priority over his family, friends or other professional commitments.
The ASA held that the BCAP Code had not been breached. It stated that while the man was momentarily occupied with gambling, he made his flight in a calm and collected manner and was not distracted by the betting. The scenario, together with various voiceover statements, implied that gambling could be enjoyed as a leisurely activity when a spare few minutes were available. The ASA concluded that the ad did not give the impression that gambling should take priority in life or encourage socially irresponsible gambling.
Co-authored by Jack Rigelsford.