ASA Clamps Down on Online Casinos Advertising

  • LeoVegas and Coral both rebuked by advertising regulator
  • Ads by both operators will be banned in the UK

Online online casinos operating in the UK have come under scrutiny by the Advertising Standards Authority this week, with two adverts banned by the regulator.

British operator Coral Casino was reportedly ruled to have put pressure on players in a recent TV campaign, while Swedish online casino website LeoVegas Casino was said to have used misleading, unclear language in a recent social media posts.

Both adverts have been pulled by the respective online casino sites following the ASA’s decisions, which were revealed on Wednesday.

LeoVegas warned over “misleading” social media ad

A recent bonus promotion by up-and-coming Swedish operator LeoVegas offered free spins to new customers, and marketing partners Nyheter ran a social media campaign to attract players which included Twitter outreach.

According to the ASA’s report, a Tweet was issued by the company in December 2016, which read “It still hasn’t been fixed! Big wins for Brits after online casino’s ‘glitch’.” This Tweet was linked to the free spins promotion – but it was flagged to the regulator amid concerns that it didn’t look like an advert, and seemed to be suggesting players could win more because of a system glitch.

The ASA upheld the complaint and ordered the casino operator to use different language in future campaigns. LeoVegas has already been taken to task by the advertising authority this year for a similar breach of the strict code of conduct it maintains. An advert back in November appeared to offer £1,500 to players because an “online loophole”, which actually led back to another welcome bonus promotion – and was judged to be unclear as a result. This ad was also pulled by the ASA back in March.

Coral criticized for ‘peer pressure’ advert

Gibraltar-based UK operator, Coral was also in trouble with the ASA for its recent television advert, which featured the lines “So are you a spectator or are you a player? You decide. Coral. Get in on the action.” The complaint centers around the alleged ‘peer pressure’ within that phrase, suggesting that the only true fans are those who play – either on the pitch or through making bets.

While Coral responded that it felt the “You decide” line was a critical part of the ad and handed control to the spectator, it was deemed that the campaign breached code rules relating to social responsibility. Under the ASA’s strict code, social responsibility is a crucial factor in deciding whether to allow a gambling advert. Like LeoVegas, Coral saw its ad pulled and received a warning about use of tone in future ads.

OUR VERDICT

What is interesting about this is that it is the ASA – the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority – that has overseen this latest ruling and not the UK’s gambling regulator, the UKGC. While it can be argued that these are adverts and justly fall under that category the UKGC does have a set of rules and regulations that govern casino adverts. We’ve seen it refer to these in a couple of other instances recently and yet, in this instance, it seems to have let ASA carry the mantle. It’s apparent that the UKGC is not taking action against EU casino operators at this moment in time, hence it being picked up by the ASA instead.

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