ASA upholds complaint over Ladbrokes ad

The ASA ruled that the Ladbrokes ad was socially irresponsible.
The ASA ruled that the Ladbrokes ad was socially irresponsible.

The UK advertising watchdog, the Advertising Standards Authority, found that the Ladbrokes ad encouraged problem gambling

UK.- The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld a complaint against Ladbrokes over an ad for sports betting that showed football fans using the brand’s app.

Only one complaint was made about the ad, which was broadcast in April, but it’s the second time that the ASA has found fault with part of Ladbrokes’ “Where the Nation Plays” campaign.

The ad in question showed men placing bets using the Ladbrokes app, and then showed their reactions to a football match. The first of three scenes showed a man looking up at the match then down at the app to place bets. A voiceover said: “I’m a nodder: up to the football, down to the app like a dog on a dashboard.”

The second scene showed a man on a station platform who appeared frustrated while using the betting app and mimed kicking a ball. The voiceover said: “When I bet, I’m a frustrated manager. I kick every ball.”

The final scene showed a group of men jumping up and down excitedly with the voiceover: “If I’ve got an acca [accumulator] coming in, I find myself getting very excited.”

Entain’s Ladbrokes said it had taken advice on the CAP Copy Advice Standard, which states that ads must not portray or condone gambling behaviour that appears socially irresponsible or could lead to financial, social or emotional harm. It also had the ad approved by the advertising standards agency Clearcast.

It said the ad showed fans’ feelings during a match and did not promote problem gambling.

The ASA accepted that the ad showed emotions around football but concluded that the first scene was socially irresponsible because the man appeared detached and preoccupied with gambling rather than football.

It ruled that the ad breached UK Code of Broadcast Advertising (BCAP) sections 17.3 and 17.3.1 on gambling. It urged Ladbrokes to be more cautious with future ads and to avoid showing detachment or mood swings.

It said: “Marketers should take care to avoid an implication of such behaviours, for instance, with outwardly light-hearted or humorous approaches that could be regarded as portrayals of those behaviours.

“Behaviours associated with people displaying or at risk from problem gambling included detachment from surroundings, preoccupation with gambling and mood swings (including highs and lows, irritability and shortness of temper.”

Last month, the ASA warned UK bingo operators over breaches of responsible advertising obligations

The watchdog reminded operators that bingo is subject to the same regulations on advertising as other gambling products.

However, the ASA recently dismissed a complaint against Ladbrokes over a Goonies-themed slot game.

The ASA has also reported that children continue to see more betting ads than in 2008, but less than in 2013.

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