William Hill, Paddy Power, and Monopoly Casino have each had advertisements banned after the UK’s Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) deemed the ads breached its guidelines.
A Paddy Power advert which featured Rhodri Giggs, brother of former Manchester United player Ryan Giggs, received five complaints.
In the ad, Giggs is first shown going to the gym and the pub. He’s then shown ordering champagne at a bar and making off in a slick sports car. He pats the car and says the words, “Thanks Paddy”.
Complaints were made on the grounds that the advertisement was irresponsible because it glamorized gambling / online casinos and made the suggestion that it is a legitimate way to achieve a high standard of living.
Paddy Power stood their ground, insisting that the only thing in the ad that could be considered glamorous was the car and that when Giggs said, “Thanks Paddy”, he was thanking the company for receiving the car after he signed as an ambassador for their Rewards Club. It was not intended to show that he had somehow won the money to purchase the car by gambling. The company said this idea was intentionally reinforced by placing a bumper sticker on the car that read “Ambassador Car”.
Clearcast, an organisation that pre-approves advertisements for British TV, threw their support behind Paddy Power saying that they felt there was nothing in the ad that suggested people should gamble irresponsibly or with large amounts of money.
The ASA ultimately agreed that the apparent success Giggs was enjoying in the advertisement did not come as a direct result of gambling. They did, however, believe that the ad’s story implied that viewers would benefit financially if they followed the example set by Giggs and joined the Paddy Power casino Rewards Club.
In the end, the ASA ruled that the advertisement implied that viewers could achieve financial security and improve their self-image through gambling. They concluded that the ad was irresponsible and ordered Paddy Power not to show it again in its current form.
The ASA also passed a ruling against William Hill. The operator, in partnership with the Tottenham Hotspur football club, ran an advertisement on Twitter. The ad featured an image from the Spurs’ Champions League game with Borussia Dortmund and contained a link to the William Hill site.
The ASA challenged the ad as irresponsible because two players in the image, Harry Winks and Davinson Sanchez, were both under 25 years old at the time the photo was taken.
According to the CAP Code, no persons under 25 years of age can play a significant role in gambling marketing communications, with the exception of appearing in a place where a bet could be placed directly through a transactional facility.
The ASA said that Winks and Sanchez’s significance in the advert was no more than that of their teammates, with all having an equally significant role. The problem was that they also did not appear in a place where a bet could be placed in a transactional facility. The two were also not used to illustrate specific betting selections where they were the subject of the bet.
They, therefore, ruled the ad as irresponsible and forbid it from being shown again in its current form. The ASA also ordered both William Hill and Spurs not to run any similar ads in the future.
Entertaining Play, a subsidiary of Gamesys was also chastised for running an advertisement for its Monopoly Casino brand that the ASA deemed as appealing to children.
The ad ran on the Mirror Online website and contained an image of the “Mr Monopoly” character along with text reading “Monopoly Casino”, “Super Monopoly Money” and “Play Now”.
The CAP Code stipulates that gambling ads must be made in such a way so that they are not likely to be of particular appeal to children or young people. Although Monopoly Casino maintained that Mr Monopoly is not targeted specifically to children, the ASA asserted that Monopoly is a family game and children would quickly recognise the character.
They also said the prominent image of Mr Monopoly that appeared in the advert had exaggerated features, much like a children’s cartoon, which would make it appealing to people under 18 years of age. As a result, the ASA ordered that the ad not be shown again in its current form.
All the previous brands mentioned in this article operate as online casino sites in the UK.