PokerStars rapped for ‘socially irresponsible’ ad
The UK Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) has ruled that a television advert run by PokerStars was “socially irresponsible” and breached guidelines.
Broadcast on October 26, the advert focused on how players can ‘bluff’ their way to victory in online poker contests.
The ASA received a single complaint against the advert, challenging whether the ad “exploited inexperienced poker players by suggesting that they could easily excel at the game and make large winning”.
The advert in question featured a player going all in on a bluff, risking all of his chips in the hope the other players would fold their own hands.
An accompanying voiceover said: “Here you are, the moment when bluffing is the only way to win, you’re freaking out kiddo, but think about all those times you bluffed yourself.
“Like the pull-up bar waiting for you to get back in-shape, that book you’re definitely going to read, your parents never ever had sex.
“Use that talent because if you can bluff yourself, you can bluff anyone.
“Pokerstars, you’re already a great poker player.”
The ASA considered the complaint and ruled that viewers would interpret it as meaning they could make large winnings by making big ‘all in’ bluffs based solely on their experience of bluffing in real life.
In its ruling, the ASA said: “As the ad only showed the player being able to bluff in real life, non-poker related circumstances, and did not imply that they had any other experience of the game, we considered that the ad suggested that players could excel at poker without any previous experience of the game.
“This, therefore, portrayed gambling behaviour that was socially irresponsible.
“While we acknowledged that big “all in” bluffs were a part of the game, we considered that the message that bluffing should be attempted without any experience of playing poker or any understanding of poker strategy portrayed gambling behaviour in the context of recklessness and in a manner that could lead to financial harm.”
As a result, the ASA said the advert must not appear again in its current form and warned PokerStars that in the future “their ads did not portray gambling in a socially irresponsible manner or in the context of recklessness”.
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