A paid-for message from William Hill seen on the dating app Tinder, on 11 March 2019, stated:
Stuck in the friend zone? You won't be for much longer if you use this Cheltenham free bet offer. Join William Hill with code W40 and bet £10 on any Cheltenham race to get 4 X £10 free bets. T&Cs apply. This was followed by a link to
download the William Hill app. Issue
A complainant challenged whether the ad breached the Code by linking gambling to sexual success.
ASA Assessment: Complaint upheld
The CAP Code required that marketing communications for gambling must be socially responsible and that they must not link gambling to seduction, sexual success or enhanced attractiveness. The ASA acknowledged that William Hill had removed the ad.
However, we considered that the text Stuck in the friend zone? You won't be for much longer if you use this Cheltenham free bet offer suggested that those who gambled would be more likely to develop a friendship into a sexual relationship and
therefore linked gambling with sexual success. We therefore concluded that the ad breached the Code.
The ad must not appear again in the form complained about. We told William Hill to ensure they did not link gambling to sexual success.
A banner ad for Monopoly Casino, seen 7 February 2019 on the Mirror Online website, featured an image of the character Mr Monopoly and text which stated Monopoly Casino, SUPER MONOPOLY MONEY and PLAY NOW.
A complainant challenged whether the ad was likely to be of particular appeal to children.
Entertaining Play t/a Monopoly Casino did not believe the Mr Monopoly character was of particular appeal to children. They outlined that the character was depicted as shown since the inception of the Monopoly brand, with the character shown in
traditional, adult attire. Monopoly Casino said that the character did not possess exaggerated features and did not mimic any style of cartoon character seen in current children's programming. The characterisation of Mr Monopoly as a
traditionally dressed older gentleman was a conscious decision in recognition of the character's universal appeal. In relation to the ad's background, Monopoly Casino said that the colours used were not garish or overly vibrant and did not draw
inspiration from youth culture.
Monopoly Casino highlighted that they had also taken actions to target the ad only to those aged over 18 years of age.
The Mirror Online also said that age targeting could be applied to the ad so that it was not targeted at children. They did not believe the ad had appeal to children and they said that the ad included a label which stated 18+.
ASA Assessment: Complaint upheld
The CAP Code stated that gambling ads must not be likely to be of particular appeal to children or young persons, especially by reflecting or being associated with youth culture. Gambling ads could not therefore appeal more to under-18s than they
did to over-18s.
The ASA understood that Monopoly Casino had taken steps to target the ad only at those over 18 years of age. However, the steps taken could not ensure that under-18s were not exposed to the ad and we therefore considered whether it complied with
the Code's requirement that gambling ads must not be of particular appeal to children.
The ad's branding referenced a regular edition of the board-game Monopoly, and included two red and white Monopoly logos. We considered that Monopoly was a family game generally played by or with children, and that under-18s would therefore
recognise and find the ad's references to it appealing. In addition, the ad featured a prominent image of the Mr Monopoly character which had exaggerated features reminiscent of a children's cartoon, which meant the image would also be appealing
to under-18s. Taking account of the ad as a whole, we considered that the use of the Monopoly logo and the depiction of the Mr Monopoly character meant that the ad was likely to appeal more to under-18s than to over-18s. We therefore concluded
that the ad was of particular appeal to under-18s and breached the Code.
The ad must not appear again in the form complained about. We told Entertaining Play Ltd t/a Monopoly Casino to ensure their ads for gambling products did not have particular appeal to those under18 years of age.
Age verification for online gambling is set to evolve into full identity verification from 7th May 2019. The other big change is that all verification will have to be completed prior to any bets being placed. Previously age verification was
required only when people tried to withdraw their winnings. There were many complaints that gambling companies would then inflict onerous validation requirements to try and avoid paying out.
I would hazard a guess that the new implementation will quash an awful lot of the TV end media adverts that try and get new members with a small joiners bonus. Now it will be a lot more hassle to join, and maybe there will be less interest in
trying out new websites just to get a free introductory bet.