ASA says Only 1 Percent of Ads Fail to Pass Muster

22 February 2008

Britain's Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) says gambling advertisements showed an "exceptionally high compliance rate" during the first two months new gambling ad rules were in effect. Out of 784 advertisements from a broad range of media, only seven breached the new advertising codes.

Four of the questionable ads were television commercials for the same remote gaming company, Intercasino, and "depicted juvenile behaviour among people with dwarfism," according to the ASA. The ASA felt the ads "would have particular appeal to children and young persons."

The ASA felt an Internet banner ad for another remote gaming company linked gambling with sexual seduction or success. This ad featured "an image of a man surrounded by women stroking and kissing him on either side of his face. His head had been substituted with the face of a King playing card."

Another televised ad, run by a remote soft gaming company, was thought to appeal to children and young people because it featured "a theme of colourful animations for solitaire, trivia games and a pinball sequence."

The last ad in breach was a televised commercial for a bingo service, featuring "a woman buying items . . . marked with an oversized bingo pen. The advertisement finished with the woman buying a mansion for her relatives before spotting a jogger with surgically enhanced breasts. After looking at the breasts with envy, the woman pushed her chest out and the bingo pen hovered over the jogger's breasts." The ASA says the ad suggests that gambling can improve self-image or self-esteem.

The ASA wrote to the companies who ran the questionable ads, asking for written assurance that the ads be withdrawn. No fines or penalties were administered.

Five hundred and sixty-one of the 784 gambling surveyed in September and October 2007 promoted remote gambling of some sort. Three hundred and twelve were press/magazine; 344 were Internet banner ads or pop ups; 56 were TV; 31 were radio; 28 were direct mailing; eight were circulars; and five were outdoor.

Click here to view a copy of the ASA study.

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