ASA Bans Online Poker Ad

17 September 2008

The United Kingdom’s Advertising Standards Authority, or ASA, has banned a PKR TV advertisement.

According to ASA’s Web site, the online poker site’s advertisement was “irresponsible because it glamorized the risks involved in gambling and implied it was possible to win against the odds,” it appealed to the youth and was likely “to exploit their aspirations and credulity,” and it suggested “that gambling was a way to gain recognition or admiration.”

The ad featured computer-generated players around a table in a virtual poker room and focused on a well-dressed gentleman. “I’ve come in over the top of pot-sized raises with middle pair, bluffed under the gun with four runners behind me, folded pocket Kings on a hunch. I’ve survived bad beats, sick draws and cold decks,” said a voiceover while the man pushed a stack of chips to the center of the table.

“And I’ve played through fields of thousands to make the final table. Here I come,” the voiceover continued as the man laughed.

Although PKR argued that the ad used terminology unlikely to be understood by young people and therefore could not appeal or exploit them, ASA said the terminology was not likely to be understood by the masses but gave the impression that it “was acceptable to take risks ‘on a hunch.’”