The X Factor Games Casino advert avoids ASA ban over young audience targeting fears

The ASA rule that The X Factor Games adverts were ‘not in breach’

  • Following seven complaints from disgruntled listeners, investigations were launched into the gambling-related content of two radio ads
  • They were claimed to have been “irresponsible” and broadcast too early in the day, say the ASA

The X Factor Games, a provider of online casino games and slots, recently aired two adverts that supposedly breached broadcasting rules but both adverts have been been cleared by the Advertising Standards Agency.

x factor games

The adverts were aired on Wave 105 and Absolute 80s, with the former playing the advert twice – once in the morning and once in the afternoon – and the latter playing it just once in the morning. The airings occurred at the beginning of May.

Complaints roll in

The radio commercials were easily recognizable as associated with The X Factor television program, using the same theme tune and the same voice-over.

But in the days that followed the adverts’ airing, a number of complaints were sent to the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) about their contents. Some claimed that the adverts were “irresponsible,” saying that they might “particularly” appeal to those younger than 18 years old.

The commercials were also challenged due to their morning-time airing; at such an early hour, it was likely that children were listening to the radio and picked up the advert’s contents.

Subsequent investigations

But in response to the complaints, Radiocentre – commercial radio’s industry and regulatory body – said that The X Factor Games adverts were appealing
to consumers of all ages and cultures, not just those under 18.

Radiocentre also put forth the argument that X Factor Games, as well as the commercials themselves, were acceptably different from The X Factor as a television program, thereby concluding that the adverts were not irresponsible.

Meanwhile, Bear Group Ltd – who trade as The X Factor Games commercially – have said that the times of broadcast of the adverts were at times of the day when the majority (three quarters) of the listening audience were older than 18.

In fact, Bauer Media (who own Wave 105 and Absolute 80s) have released figures that show for Wave 105, 89% of those listening between 6am and
10am are over 18, and for Absolute 80s, 96% of listeners were over 18 for the same time period.

Radiocentre point out that these commercials were specifically scheduled at times during the day when younger people were unlikely to be listening.
Bear Group Ltd also point out that the adverts made clear their gambling nature and reiterated that both commercials did include gambling awareness notices.

Complaints dismissed

The ASA report that following investigation, neither of the two complaint types were upheld.

The first complaint type – relating to the issue of being “irresponsible” – was dismissed on the grounds that neither advert contained material that would
be more likely to be appeal specifically to under-18s.

The second complaint type – which deemed the adverts too-early broadcast – was also dismissed, based on the figures of Bauer Media given above.

The ASA have subsequently closed their investigations with no pending action necessary.

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