UK watchdog bans Electraworks ad

Electraworks said the offending ad appeared through error.
Electraworks said the offending ad appeared through error.

The ASA has upheld a complaint against the GVC subsidiary, but rejected a complaint against Betfair Casino.

UK.- The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned a Google search advert from GVC’s ElectraWorks for suggesting that gambling could offer financial security.

The ad for ElectraWorks’ Foxy Games brand was shown following the search “Make Money Online”. Its title section read: “Earn Money Online – Foxy Games – Play Online”.

A viewer complained that this suggested consumers could gain financial security by playing the brand’s slots and bingo games.

ElectraWorks accepted that the ad broke marketing guidelines and that it “appeared as a result of human error”. It said it had since removed the ad. 

Upholding the complaint, the ASA found that the ad violated section 16.3.4 of the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) code, which states advertisements must not suggest gambling can be a solution to financial concerns, an alternative to employment or a means to financial security.

It said the ad “suggested to consumers that the gambling system offered by the advertiser could be used to ‘earn’ money and therefore attain a regular source of income”.

The ASA warned ElectraWorks to make sure future adverts did not present gambling as a solution to financial issues.

Meanwhile, the watchdog dismissed a complaint against a Betfair Casino television advert that appeared in July.

The ad took place at an airport and showed a man running to board a plane while another appeared relaxed using the Betfair Casino app on his phone.

The voiceover said: “The average time between the final call and boarding closing is 4 minutes and 53 seconds… an unofficial fact officially brought to you by Betfair Casino. Because when there’s a chance, there’s always a chance.”

The man then calmly walked to the gate to board the flight.

One viewer complained the ad “portrayed gambling as taking priority in life by showing someone gambling in a time-pressured situation after the final boarding call for his flight”.

Betfair argued the ad was not irresponsible and that it had been approved by ClearCast’s ad clearance service.

It said the man in the advertisement “appeared to be aware of his surroundings and boarding time”, and did not appear to be travelling with friends or family nor to be prioritising gambling over anything in particular.

The ASA agreed that the man was “momentarily occupied with gambling” and not distracted by it.

It said: “We did not consider that the ad gave the impression that people should gamble in situations where they were genuinely at risk of being distracted from an important task.

“We therefore concluded that the ad did not portray, condone or encourage gambling behaviour that was socially irresponsible, or portray gambling as indispensable or as taking priority in life.”

In August, the ASA issued a warning to gambling operators about the number of ads seen by children.

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