32Red sanctioned for a problematic ad

Viktor Vangelov | Published 26 Sep 2019, 8:43 a.m.

There’s been a lot of talk of restrictions, fines and new gambling regulations in the UK lately. In fact, most operators have become quite cautious as some of them have been handed hefty fines for breaching standards set by the UK Gambling Commission. Gambling in the UK is a major industry, a lot of stakeholders are involved, and actions can have great consequences.

Operators are concerned that certain decisions and initiatives may have a significant impact on their performance and revenue. The FOBTs max betting limit, i.e. the decrease from £100 to £2 caused some operators to lay off staff and even close down some of their venues.

The decision to decrease the stake limit to £2 came into force at the beginning of April, and in July, operators blamed the reform for the closure of betting shops. However, it should be noted that the number of shops that Ladbrokes, William Hill and Betfred closed was a lower than the initial estimate, so it seems that operators weren’t hit as severely as first thought.

The ad featured Jack and the Beanstalk slot which is based on a fairytale

We have also reported on some of the fines that some of the operators were required to pay. Fining companies is one handy way for the Commission to gather funds that can be invested in programmes and initiatives, but on many occasions, operators have only been warned. Authorities, or to be more specific, the Advertising Standards Authority has paid close attention to marketing communications, particularly when it comes to protection of children and their exposure to gambling advertising.

This time it was 32Red that were on the receiving end of a sanction. The brand advertised its offer on Google using banners and other promo materials featuring Jack and the Beanstalk slot, a game that’s based on the children’s story of the same name.

The ad was particularly problematic as it appeared to people who searched the phrase ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ and the reasoning of the ASA was that many of those who googled the term were children, or adults who were accompanied by children and were searching on their behalf.

The operator, when placing the ad, didn’t ensure that it will only appear to those over 18 and thus didn’t provide a sufficient degree of protection of children.

The ruling of the ASA stated that the ad must not appear in its current form and that the company has to ensure that gambling ads in the future will not have a particular appeal to children and persons under the age of 18 in general.

The ad promoted 150% bonus up to £150

32Red accepted the ruling, they removed the ad and they made further checks to ensure that no other games of high risk have been included in their promotional materials and marketing communications.

The Jack and the Beanstalk campaign in question was consisted of two similar Google ads, both of which were used to promote the same bonus offer 150% up to £150, which is quite a significant amount.

Additional note made by the ASA was that all other results that appeared on the first page on Google were refereeing to the actual tale, whereas 32Red’s ad was the only result that actually pointed to the new game.

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