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Advertising regulator penalises gambling trio

| By iGB Editorial Team

William Hill has again fallen foul of the UK advertising watchdog after it was found to have advertised on an app aimed at children.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled today (Wednesday) that an advertisement for William Hill Vegas “had been inappropriately targeted and breached the Code” after it featured on New MarioKart 8 Trick in February.

After a complaint was filed with the ASA, Hills defended its actions saying it had used the Universal App Campaign product from Google which did not allow it to specify targets other than by location.

The company added that because gambling was a restricted product, the Google ads were limited to serve only those who specified their age to Google and were over 18.

Hills added that they “would never knowingly target children or people under the age of 18 and that their intention was always to advertise and market to consumers who were 18+”.

The ASA accepted that New MarioKart 8 Trick was not children’s media, but “considered its audience would likely have included under-18s”. It said Hills could have used additional interest-based factors to reduce the likelihood of under-18s seeing the ad. It also said it could have set more account exclusions via the Universal App Campaign, which would have prevented the ads from appearing in particular types of apps or websites.

The ASA told Hills not to use the as again without “further, specific targeting to minimise the likelihood of under-18s being exposed to it”.

The authority added: “We told William Hill Vegas to ensure that their ads were appropriately targeted in future.”

The ruling comes after Hills launched a new UK-facing responsible gambling initiative, ‘Nobody Harmed’, in July after admitting to “falling below” the standards expected by the national regulator, parliament and the general public

In July, the advertising watchdog told iGamingBusiness.com that it was examining whether World Cup adverts by Bet365 and William Hill contravened new gambling guidelines.

ASA is examining several adverts that offered improved odds for a short period.

The ASA has been busy dealing with complaints about gambling companies. It has also today (Wednesday) found that a Kwiff advert encouraged irresponsible gambling.

The ASA ruled: “We considered that the overall impression of the ad condoned and encouraged betting in ways that could be financially, socially and emotionally harmful, by associating it with problem gambling, and we concluded that the ad was irresponsible.”

The ASA also upheld a complaint against Greentube after a complainant alleged that an advert for its Bell Fruit Casino was seen by their seven-year-old child in the app Dude Perfect 2.

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