Merkur Casino Bus Ad Cleared By Advertising Standards Authority
A Merkur Casino advertisement which appeared on the back of a child’s bus ticket has been cleared by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).
The advertisement for the Merkur Cashino casino was spotted back in May on the bus ticket and read: “£5 Free Plays on a machine of your choice with this ticket”. Shortly after, the ASA received a complaint suggesting that the advertisement was directed at minors due to the way it was published on the child ticket.
In response, Merkur Casino argued that the firm only operates low stake gambling machines in an adult-only environment. Ad agency TicketMedia also chimed in, stating that only 23.1% of passengers on the bus route in which the ad appeared were aged 15 and under. TicketMedia also stressed that the advertisement would not appeal to minors due to its lack of artwork as well as an “over 18s” banner.
Bus operator National Express West Midlands also issued a statement against the complaint, saying: “In a term-time week, approximately 45,000 passenger journeys were made on the 35 bus route. Typically around 27% of all journeys were undertaken by passengers on that route who actually bought a ticket and would potentially receive the ad. The majority of them were adults.”
“The proportion of cash tickets being purchased by children on that route was 15% during term-time and 12% during the holiday period. Consequently, during term-time only just over 3% of all passenger journeys were made by children buying a cash paper ticket on the bus.”
Fines And Regulations in the UK
The ASA launched an investigation into the complaint and ruled that the advertisement did not appear in media specifically targeting minors under 18. The firm ruled that the advertisement did not breach the ASA’s code as the number of minors viewing the ad was under 25%.
In a statement, the advertising regulatory body said: “On the particular bus route identified by the complainant, the highest percentage of child-fare paper tickets issued was 15% during term-time. We understood that across the bus company’s network, only 3% of all passengers were issued child-fare paper tickets during term-time.”
Merkur Casino hasn’t been the only gambling company to have stirred controversy, however. In October, the UK Gambling Commission announced that it would not be reprimanding Ladbrokes after it was revealed that the firm had allowed a customer to gamble with stolen funds.
Also in the same month, the ASA banned a Casumo Casino Google sponsored advert for “irresponsibly targeting” gamblers searching for information on self-exclusion.
Casino operator 32Red also had an advertisement banned by the ASA for appealing to children. The operator’s sponsored ad on Google promoted the firm’s Jack And The Beanstalk slot but appeared when users Googled “Jack and the Beanstalk” in the search engine, appearing to children.