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ASA raps Gala Interactive over ‘irresponsible’ ad

| By iGB Editorial Team
Regulator clears Paddy Power Betfair adverts after investigation

The UK’s Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) has issued a warning to Gala Interactive over its future marketing activities after branding a recent advert “irresponsible”.

The watchdog launched an investigation into an advert shown on May 5 this year for the operator’s Galaspins.com website.

The ad showed a man playing the ‘Britain’s Got Talent Slingo’ game on his tablet, while at the same time spinning a plate on its side. Other characters looked on and clapped.

An accompanying voiceover said: “Ah, the tell-tale signs of a Gala Spins fan. A whirly spin of fun and games, just like the new Britain’s Got Talent Slingo game. Try it now and see if you’ve got the talent. Galaspins.com – now that’s Spincredible.”

A single complainant challenged whether the ad implied that gambling involved skill rather than chance, and was therefore seen as socially irresponsible.

In its ruling, the ASA said that although the “see if you’ve got the talent” quote was meant as a reference to the ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ television show and the plate-spinning character, it “failed to recognise that in the context of the ad it was an invitation to gamble online”.

The ASA added: “In that context, the claim therefore implicitly suggested that viewers could exercise a degree of skill or would be able to improve their opportunity to win at a game of chance.

“We therefore concluded that the ad was irresponsible and thereby breached the CAP Code.”

As a result, the ASA said the ad must not appear again in its current form and also ordered Gala Interactive to ensure future ads do not suggest “there was a degree of skill in the game”.

Meanwhile, the ASA has also issued a ruling on two Paddy Power Betfair adverts that drew a number of complaints relating to the age of the actor.

Complainants challenged that the actor was under 25, but Paddy Power Betfair said the character’s clothing “was not associated with youth culture” and he did not behave in an “adolescent, juvenile or loutish way”.

The ASA agreed, ruling that the actor’s “smart, muted clothing and stubble” did not portray him as being under 25. The actor was in fact 27.

The latest rulings come after the ASA was forced to get involved with complaints related to Bet365 and William Hill adverts during the World Cup. The watchdog examined several ads after they drew 115 complaints from members of the public.

Gambling operators in the UK will soon face tougher rules for advertising, after the Gambling Commission last month pledged to take “tougher action” against those that breach regulations.

Set to come into effect from October 31, the changes will make it easier for the Commission to sanction operators that break advertising rules, including the ability to impose fines.

Gambling companies will also face action for advertising failings by third-party affiliates, while the commission can also punish those that send ‘spam’ marketing emails or texts.

Image: Ben Sutherland 

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