UK watchdog bans another Paddy Power ad

Paddy Power must not show the ad again in its current form.
Paddy Power must not show the ad again in its current form.

The Advertising Standards Authority has upheld complaints against a television advert that showed “socially irresponsible” gambling.

UK.- The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned another Paddy Power ad after upholding two complaints raised. The latest decision comes after the watchdog banned a radio ad from the operator in March.

The latest case involves a television ad for the Flutter Entertainment brand. It showed a young man in a living room gambling on Paddy Power’s Wonder Wheel via his mobile phone while his partner’s family are present. His partner asks him “do you think I will end up looking like my Mum?”, to which he answers “I hope so”, still looking at his phone before then realising his mistake.

A voiceover says, “no matter how badly you stuff it up, you’ll always get another chance with Paddy Power games”.

Two people complained that the ad showed gambling taking priority over family life, depicting “someone so occupied by gambling that they made an inappropriate remark in conversation”. The complaints also suggested that the narrator’s conclusion encouraged repeated gambling after incurring a loss.

Paddy Power argued that the ad showed a commitment to family life, noting that the man was aware of his surroundings and acknowledged those present.

As for the accusation that the ad encouraged repeated gambling, it said the line should be considered “in the context of the ad as a whole” and that it referred to the fact the man’s comment to his girlfriend – that is a “real-life example of stuffing up” and not losing a bet.

The ASA said: “They said the ad referenced the fact customers could have one free spin a day on the Wonder Wheel game. They said if a user did not win with their free spin, they would get another chance to win with a free spin the next day. 

“They believed the ad did not promote socially irresponsible gambling, because it was not advertising a paid-for gambling game, merely a free game where players have one spin in any period of 24 hours. They said the ad made no inducements to gamble frequently or excessively, nor did it depict anyone doing so.”

However, the ASA ruled that the ad did show gambling as taking priority over family and the questioned phrase was “likely to encourage gambling behaviour that was harmful”.

It ordered Paddy Power to ensure the ad does not appear again in its current form and that future ads do not portray gambling as indispensable or taking priority in life and do not encourage socially irresponsible behaviour. Complaints against two radio ads were not upheld.

ASA warns that gambling content marketing must abide by CAP rules

Earlier this week, the ASA warned gambling operators to ensure that content marketing on social media meets advertising rules. It said it had received questions about whether content marketing counts as marketing for the purposes of the CAP code. Its conclusion is that the “vast majority” does.

In its update, the ASA said questions had been raised over the extent to which the ASA’s remit covers gambling provider communications in social media content marketing: a type of marketing that involves the creation and sharing of online material (such as videos, blogs, and social media posts) that does not explicitly promote a brand but is intended to stimulate interest in its products or services.

The ASA responded that it has a common understanding with the Gambling Commission that all social media content published by licensed gambling operators must comply with the standards and protections set out in the Committee for Advertising Practice’s UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising and Direct & Promotional Marketing (known as the CAP Code).

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