Betfred evaded facing further regulatory action after the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) decided not to uphold a complaint against a company’s advert.
The questionable Betfred advert was seen on TV on January 20th, 2019. It depicted several characters who gambled while carrying out their everyday activities. The complainant challenged whether the ad was irresponsible, as they believed that it could make gambling look normal to customers, and especially to more vulnerable ones.
The gambling operator responded to the complaint, saying that the TV advert did not suggest that people should gamble (or in the case of the ad – play bingo) excessively or that such activities should prevail over any social interaction. In addition, Betfred explained that no high-stakes gambling activities were promoted in the advert and no unrealistic emotions which could end up hurting customers in any way.
According to the company, no suggestions that the characters featured in the ad spend an excessive amount of time or money gambling. In addition, gambling was not depicted as the sole activity carried out by the characters who took part in the ad. Therefore, Betfred did not believe that the advert was irresponsible or that it was presented as something that people could not live without.
The non-governmental organisation engaged with the pre-approval of the advert, Clearcast, further explained that the TV ad did not create an impression that the three individuals depicted were gambling excessively or placing high stakes while doing so. In addition, no one of the characters was shown in a situation where they were ignoring their professional/educational engagements or their friends or family.
ASA Does Not Uphold Claims That the Ad Is Socially Irresponsible
The current BCAP Code states that gambling marketing communications must not portray excessive gambling and encourage gambling behaviour that could be described as socially irresponsible or could inflict serious social, financial or emotional harm.
The Advertising Standards Authority investigated the advert under BCAP Code rules 17.3.1 and 17.3.4 but did not find that it violated the Code in any way.
The advertising watchdog explained that it considered the TV advert focused on presenting the Betfred bingo service of the brand and how customers could gamble using the service while also doing their everyday tasks or leisure activities while at home. The ASA further shared that the advert did not present gambling as an activity which takes priority over other tasks in their everyday lives. No excessive gambling or spending money on gambling was shown, so the Authority concluded that the TV advert could hardly be considered socially irresponsible.
The advertising regulatory body concluded that the Betfred TV ad in question did not portray gambling as indispensable or taking priority over other everyday activities or encourage gambling behaviour which was not socially responsible. Therefore, the Authority ruled that no further action on the advert is necessary.