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Camelot criticised by ASA for scratchcard ad outside school

| By iGB Editorial Team
Lottery operator says database failure led to poster being placed near school entrance

National Lottery operator Camelot has been slapped down by the UK’s advertising regulator after it placed a poster advertising a scratch card close to the entrance of a school.

A complainant contacted the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) in May, questioning whether the poster ad was directed at children under 16 years of age. The ad featured an image of a rainbow scratch card with the text “Scratch and See … Top prize £50,000 Lucky Fortune … 7 CHANCES TO WIN! £2”.

Camelot, which has a policy of not placing ads within 100m of schools, said a database geolocation failure was the cause of the error. It said it now uses a different database tool which identifies the geographical boundaries of schools, rather than postcode data.

The ASA found that Camelot breached the CAP Code rule 17.14, which states that “marketing communications for lotteries should not be directed at those aged under 16 years through the selection of media or context in which they appear”.

“The ASA was concerned by the proximity of the poster to the school and considered that the audience of the ad would likely be significantly skewed towards under-16s and because of that it was directed at children through the context in which the ad appeared,” the watchdog said. “We therefore considered that the placement of the ad breached the Code.”

It was the first ASA investigation into Camelot in four years, with a complaint over a jackpot commercial rejected back in 2014.

The ruling came as the UK Gambling Commission today (21 November) urged businesses and parents to step up efforts to protect children from the dangers of gambling after a new report identified an increase in the number of problem gamblers aged 11-16.

Last week, Camelot UK Lotteries announced a 5% increase in sales for the first half of its financial year, aided by a strong performance from its draw-based games. Total sales for the six months ended September 29 rose to £3.5bn, aided by growth across all product lines.

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