The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), Britain’s advertising watchdog, recently banned a prime time television advert that was promoting Tombola Bingo. The advert was banned after two individuals filed complaints, arguing that the advert used negative racial stereotypes for comedic effect.
The television advert showed a white man in a suit and a black man in a floral shirt sitting around a fire on a sandy beach. The black man played a ukulele and repeated in song everything that the white man said. The complaints said that the relationship between the two characters was ”defined as the power of the white man over the black man”.
The ASA, which has absolute authority over all adverts relating to online gambling in the UK, decided that the advert should be removed. ”We considered that the ad could be interpreted as humiliating, stigmatising or undermining the standing of the black character and was therefore likely to cause serious offence.” Tombala was warned to be more mindful in the future.
This is not the first gambling-related advert that the ASA has asked to be removed. A few months ago, an internet advert promoting the site Prime Scratchcards. The ad featured an image of a woman holding a baby, and its text described how the single mum had achieved financial security by gambling on the internet. The ASA ruled that the advert “suggested gambling was a solution to financial worries and encouraged gambling behaviour that could lead to financial and emotional harm, ” and asked that it be removed from circulation.
Tombala Bingo has since removed their advert from television, though the video can still be viewed on Youtube. Tombala is one of many internet sites that offer online bingo games in the UK. Internet bingo is becoming increasingly more popular, as various sites advertise their products to the nation on television and in other media.