ASA Bans PokerStars Ad

24 September 2008

An ad for, the popular online poker room, has been banned by the United Kingdom Advertising Standards Authority, or A.S.A., for implying that gambling could make a person more confident and courageous.

A poster campaign ran with the headline "Play mind games" and featured world poker champion Daniel Negreanu holding an ice hockey stick with the line "Poker is a sport of courage, conviction and confidence."

Under the advertising code, ads are not allowed to link gambling with sexual success, an improved self-image or appeal to children or young people.

But the advertising watchdog received a complaint that the reference to courage, conviction and confidence was irresponsible and "exploited the susceptibilities of children".

Although the authority dismissed the complaints initially, it questioned whether the references to "courage, conviction and confidence" linked poker to toughness and resilience and implied that gambling could enhance those qualities. said the line was a quote from Mr. Negreanu on what it takes to be successful at poker and did not imply that a person would acquire those qualities by gambling.

But the A.S.A. said the three attributes mentioned in the ad demonstrated mental toughness or resilience, and would be seen as "admirable qualities by the target audience of 21- to 44-year-old men."