Thursday, 19 September 2019

‘Irresponsible’ Coral And BetIndex Gambling Ads Banned By ASA


The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned two “irresponsible” gambling advertisements.

The regulatory body banned advertisements from Coral Interactive and BetIndex, a football index operator after complaints suggested the ads were promoting irresponsible gambling. The advertisements have now been banned and cannot be shown again. What’s more, the two firms have been warned to ensure their marketing communications do not promote harmful behaviour.

One of the advertisements banned was GVC Holdings’ Coral Interactive from back in June. The ad promoted the firm’s Bet and Get Club promotion where users who bet £25 receive a £5 bet the following week. According to reports, the advertisement featured a man and woman playing chess while a female voiceover promoted the bonus saying: “Free £5 bet every Sunday when you bet £25+ Monday to Sunday”.

Coral Interactive’s advertisement received a complaint suggesting that the ad encouraged users to game irresponsibly by increasing the frequency of their betting to potentially receive a bonus each week. Coral, however, argued that the ad did not promote irresponsible gambling as users do not need to bet large amounts to qualify. They also stated that all Coral users are monitored carefully and that the ad had received the all-clear from advertisement approval service Clearcast.

However, the ASA ruled that while players can opt-out of the promotion, the wording of the ad could still encourage irresponsible gambling. They said: “We acknowledged that the Bet and Get Club promotion did not require consumers to bet every day or every week.

“However, we considered that the suggestion that viewers should ‘join’ a ‘club’ in order to receive a free £5 bet ‘every’ Sunday was likely to encourage some consumers to take up the offer repetitively. For that reason, we concluded that the ad was likely to encourage gambling behaviour that was harmful and therefore breached the Code.”

BetIndex’s ‘Irresponsible’ Advertisement

Meanwhile, a BetIndex sponsored video ad titled ‘How to make money from Football Index’ was banned after appearing on football magazine FourFourTwo’s YouTube channel back in June. A complaint received by the ASA said the video failed to outline the risks involved with betting while suggesting that Football Index was a reliable source of income as well as an investment opportunity.

BetIndex argued that the advertisement highlighted the risks clearly through a description of the website before adding that viewers should understand that betting is risky. The firm also highlighted that they had changed the title of the video to ‘Football Index: How to make money trading and betting on the football stock market’ to reiterate that the site involved gambling.

The ASA ruled that the title and early parts of the video repeatedly used stock market terminology, suggesting that the Football Index was more of an investment opportunity than a gambling product. The regulatory firm also stated that parts of the video focusing on payouts and the potential to make money from the service suggested Football Index could be used as a source of income.

The firm said in a statement: “We also acknowledged BetIndex’s comments that consumers would recognise that the value of stock market investments went up and down and that it was expressly stated in the ad that ‘any market prices naturally go up and down’. However, we considered that the substantial discussion around how money could be generated from the platform created the impression that the product was a lucrative investment opportunity.”

Earlier this year, the ASA banned a Monopoly Casino game advert for appealing to children. However, the firm also reversed its ruling on a banned Sky Bet advertisement featuring Jeff Stelling and cleared Betfair over an irresponsible gambling ad complaint.