The regulatory body of the British advertising business slammed two gambling operators for being irresponsible in their advertising materials and for encouraging gambling.
Today, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) published rulings against BetIndex LTD and Coral Interactive Ltd, after investigating some issues which had been previously reported to the body.
BetIndex Ltd Feels ASA Backlash for Encouraging Gambling
The ASA investigated an issue related to a sponsored video which BetIndex Ltd released under the title “How to make money from football index”. The complainant saw the advert on the YouTube channel of the FourFourTwo football magazine on June 12th, 2019. The video featured two people working at The Football Index who talked about the product and the way it worked and said that the product offered its customers various opportunities to win and cash out at any time.
The person who filed the complaint at the ASA stated that in their opinion the advert implied the product could be seen as a reliable source of income. They also said that the advert also failed to clarify the financial risks and challenged it was irresponsible as it was presented as an investment opportunity for local players.
BetIndex responded to the claims, saying that the risks associated with its product were pointed out in the controversial advert. The operator also shared that the product’s description included “football stock market” which, according to the company, would make customers correlate with a stock market and its risks. Future Publishing Ltd that had allowed the advert to be released, also said that in their opinion the ad did not suggest the service offered by the Football Index as being a long-term financial solution, so they did not believe the advert was irresponsible.
The Advertising Standards Authority investigated the complaint and found that the product was described as “the football stock market” in the first three seconds of the video advert. The representatives of the Football Index also explained what is the product used for and at a later stage provided a range of examples of how players can use it to make cash. The ASA found that through the graphics used in the ad, there were different examples which main purpose was to draw attention to what could be a steady increase in player value over a certain period of time.
Overall, the UK advertising regulatory body found that the impression created by the BetIndex advert was for a product which offered an investment opportunity but in fact offered a betting product. Also, the regulator found that the ad failed to clarify the financial risks associated with the activity and made a conclusion the advert was irresponsible and violated rules 16.1, 16.3.1 and 16.3.2 of the CAP Code. It informed BetIndex that the advert must not be made public again in the form it had been at the time when the complaint was made and suggested that the operator should be more careful not to encourage gambling behaviour which was socially irresponsible.
Coral Interactive’s Ad Also Gets Slammed by Advertising Regulator
Coral Interactive (Gibraltar) Ltd also suffered ASA’s backlash due to a controversial advert.
A TV ad of the operator, seen in June 2019, featured a man and woman playing chess, with a voice-over talking about a free £5 that players could get every Sunday. The person who filed a complaint challenged the ad, saying that it was irresponsible and potentially harmful to people as it encouraged customers to gamble on a weekly basis.
Coral Interactive responded to the complaint, saying that customers could choose for themselves whether to take part in its “Bet and Get Club” promotion or not. This is exactly the reason why the company did not find that the advert encouraged potential customers to bet frequently or repetitively. A similar statement was released by Clearcast, which had approved the ad for release.
The advertising regulatory body investigated the issues and the facts, and understood that by taking part in the “Bet and Get Club” offer consumers could receive a free £5 every week, in case they spend £25 on Coral Interactive’s website. The ASA also found that the aforementioned promotion did not require customers to place a bet daily or weekly, however, some of the ad’s wording could suggest to potential consumers to take up the offer repetitively.
The Advertising Standards Authority concluded that the challenged ad could encourage harmful gambling behaviour and therefore breached the BCAP Code rule 17.3.1. The body informed Coral Interactive that the advert must not appear in its current form, and the company must not present its adverts in a way that could encourage repetitive gambling behaviour and harm people.