UK advertising watchdog upholds complaints against Hutch Games

The ASA ruled that the ads breached the CAP Code.
The ASA ruled that the ads breached the CAP Code.

The ASA found that the developer had failed to clarify details of loot boxes in two games.

UK.- The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld two complaints against the mobile games developer Hutch Games about the advertising of products that contain loot box mechanisms. Advertising rules require the presence of loot boxes to be flagged in advertising.

The ASA found that two Hutch Games apps, Rebel Racing and F1 Clash – Car Racing Manager included mention of in-app purchases in their marketing but did not specify that these were loot boxes. The complaints were brought by a researcher on game regulation, who questioned whether the games’ marketing breached the CAP Code.

The ASA ruled that they did breach the code. It told the developer not to run the ads again in the same form and to make sure that descriptions and marketing make it clear if a game features loot boxes.

Last week, the ASA criticised the affiliate group XLMedia for failing to respond to concerns about an Instagram advert that featured the footballer Mason Mount. The post, which appeared on July 11 and 12, promoted the freebetsdotcom brand. Two complaints were received against the advert because it featured an image of a footballer aged under 25. Mount was aged 24 and played for Chelsea at the time the ad appeared. He has since moved to Manchester United. 

The ASA says that it contacted XLMedia but that the affiliate group failed to respond. The ASA noted that under the CAP Code, gambling adverts must feature anyone aged under 25 in a significant role. It recognised that freebetsdotcom does not directly offer gambling but collects betting offers from operators. However, it said regulations apply because the site allows customers to interact with gambling services. 

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