UK advertising watchdog issues warning to bingo operators

The ASA has warned bingo operators to ensure ads are responsible.
The ASA has warned bingo operators to ensure ads are responsible.

The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority has warned bingo operators that ads must meet the same standards as other gambling ads. 

UK.- The advertising regulator, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), has issued a warning to bingo operators, flagging up examples of ads it says breach responsible advertising obligations

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

That means ads should “not portray, condone or encourage gambling behaviour that could lead to financial, social or emotional harm”.

Ads must not portray gambling as a means of escape, or a solution to financial problems, and must not be aimed at under 18s.

The ASA said it had seen a number of irresponsible bingo ads, including one from a Gala Bingo affiliate that presented a player clearing debts by winning a Gala jackpot. It said the ad suggested gambling could solve financial problems.

It also reminded operators of the obligation not to aim gambling ads at under 18s, finding fault with a Betfair Looney Tunes bingo product.

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

ASA reports statistics on children’s exposure to gambling ads

The ASA’s latest report on children’s exposure to restricted advertising found that children continue to see more betting ads than in 2008.

However, children’s exposure to gambling ads remains lower than the peak reported in 2013.

The report found that children aged five to 15 saw on average 2.8 gambling ads per week in 2020. That compares to 2.2 per in 2008, when reporting began, and a record high of 4.4 in 2013.

Meanwhile, Michael Dugher, chief executive of industry group the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has spoken out against calls for a ban on gambling advertising during the UEFA 2020 European Championship.

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ASA bingo gambling regulation