UK Watchdog Bans Contentious Gambling Ad

Written by Michael F. on 2010-01-28 at 12:35
Internet Gambling in United Kingdom - GamingZion
An internet ad campaign for an online gambling site in the UK has been removed from circulation by the local Advertising Standards Authority after the watchdog organization received several complaints calling the adverts “irresponsible”. The advertisements promoted a website called Prime Scratchcards, which offers instant-win games over the internet to UK players. 

Of several advertisements in the campaign, the most problematic one featured an image of a woman holding a baby. The text read as follows: 

"I am a single mom & I live on family benefits, I played and won £46,799 and it is incredible for me. I was very stressed for my son's future and I couldn't sleep, now that I won I know that I can help my son build a better future." 

The complaints received by the Advertising Standards Authority said that the advertisement exploits vulnerable people by claiming to offer a solution to debt – a solution which is not guaranteed to be helpful in all situations. The ASA agreed, saying that the ads "suggested gambling was a solution to financial worries and encouraged gambling behaviour that could lead to financial and emotional harm". 

PrimeGaming, the owner of Prime Scratchcards, was contacted by the ASA about the advertisements. They removed the ads immediately, even before the ASA could rule, citing “errors” as their reason for pulling the campaign. 

This ad campaign ran on Facebook, Yahoo and Microsoft's network of websites. The ads were viewed more than a billion times before they were pulled. 

Websites that offer internet gambling in the United Kingdom are subject to strict regulations when it comes to advertising. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) laid out these guidelines back in August 2007, after which around 1,000 advertisements were pulled for not complying with the new rules. The guidelines were established in an attempt to prevent unregulated gambling sites from attracting players. Today, the DCMS warns that organizations found breaching these rules may face fines or even prison.

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