A Ladbrokes television advertisement has been ruled as “socially irresponsible” by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).
The ASA, which last month dismissed another complaint against Ladbrokes, upheld a complaint against an ad for the betting website, which claimed that the ad for sports betting depicted people who were addicted to gambling, with the complainant challenging whether the depiction should be considered socially irresponsible.
As reported by SBC News, the ad in question consisted of three scenes. In the first, a man was shown glancing at his phone as a voiceover says, “I’m a nodder: up to the football, down to the app like a dog on a dashboard.”
In the second scene, a man the ASA described as looking “visibly frustrated” was shown making kicking motions at a train station, using the Ladbrokes app, and attracting the attention of other people while a voiceover says, “When I bet, I’m a frustrated manager. I kick every ball.”
In the final scene in the ad, three men were shown watching a VAR decision during a football game while looking “tense and nervous”, and the ad ended with the Ladbrokes logo and the text: “However you like to play, we’ve got your bet. Boost your acca odds at Ladbrokes.com.”
Although Comcast and Ladbrokes argued that the behaviour shown in the advertisement did not violate the CAP Code, which prohibits the depiction of behaviour associated with gambling addiction, the ASA upheld the complaint.
The regulatory body said the first scene showed a man who was “engrossed with betting”, while the second showed a man “detached from his surroundings” with a “preoccupation with gambling”. They said the third scene did not showcase three men enjoying a football match, but them being close to winning an accumulator.
The ASA said in a statement to SBC News: “Because the ad appeared to depict a major mood swing and directly related it to the tension of potentially winning an accumulator, rather than just watching sports, we considered that the ad depicted problem gambling behaviour.
“For those reasons, we concluded that the ad depicted gambling behaviour that was socially irresponsible, and therefore breached the Code.”
Along with the ruling, the ASA informed Entain, the owner of Ladbrokes, that future ads could not depict gambling behaviour deemed socially irresponsible.
The Big Step has asked broadcaster ITV to suspend all gambling ads in its coverage of the semi-final UEFA European Football Championships match between England and Denmark, set to premiere later tonight.
In a blog post sharing its open letter to ITV, the Big Step, a campaign formed and run by the Gambling With Lives charity, estimated that over 20 million people would watch the semi-final, including children.
The Big Step’s open letter reads: “We have been disappointed to see gambling advertising during ITV’s coverage of the European Championships.
“The promotion of addictive products will undoubtedly have caused gambling-related harms and as a charity supporting bereaved families, we know all too well the devastating damage that gambling can cause every day. We can only hope that ITV changes its position on this to prevent further suffering for many families up and down the country.”
It continues: “Despite the incessant promotion of gambling, England’s progress in the tournament has brought the country together. Like everybody, we are looking forward to seeing the team take on Denmark on Wednesday night, which is to be broadcast on ITV.
“Given that nearly 21 million people watched England vs Ukraine on Saturday, it is no exaggeration to state that millions of children will be turning in to see their heroes before, during and after this semi-final.
“Therefore we are requesting that ITV suspend gambling advertising for the duration of the broadcast of England v Denmark on 7th July, and not just within the whistle-to-whistle timeframe.”
The Big Step ended its letter by writing, “There is no excuse to show a single gambling advert in front of the whole country, especially when there will be such a young and susceptible audience viewing.”
The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has issued a statement praising the government’s decision to lift all Covid-19 restrictions in England on July 19th, as part of the final stage of the lockdown roadmap.
According to the BGC’s post, the lifted restrictions means casinos and high-street betting shops will no longer have to adhere to anti-Covid rules, including social distancing and the wearing of facemasks.
Michael Dugher, the Chief Executive of the BGC, said in a statement: “We strongly welcome the government’s intention to remove the remaining Covid restrictions on July 19, which will provide a much-needed boost to the economy.
“It is particularly good news for hospitality venues like casinos and their staff, as the businesses have had to endure many, many months of closure and crippling restrictions.”
“Through the pandemic, casinos have spent millions of pounds on best-in-class anti-Covid measures and will continue to ensure their venues are as safe as possible for customers and staff once the remaining restrictions are lifted.”
Dugher then urged ministers to ease restrictions on travel to help the tourism industry, saying: “We would also like to see further progress on foreign travel, given that, for example, London’s casinos contribute £120m to the capital’s tourism sector.
“Nevertheless, the Prime Minister’s announcement is very welcome, and casinos look forward to playing their part in the UK’s post-pandemic economic revival.”
The BGC Chief Executive also highlighted how the lifting of restrictions would aid betting shops across England, which support 46,000 jobs and pay around £60 million in business rates. The lifting of restrictions will also mean that capacity crowds can return to race meetings and other events.
Dugher said: “Betting shops are an important part of non-essential retail and help to support high streets across the UK, including by paying business rates and in driving custom to other local businesses.
“The lifting of further Covid restrictions will enable them to play an even bigger role in helping local economies across the UK.”
He added: “This is great news for the much-loved sports that the regulated betting industry helps sustain – from racing, football, rugby league, snooker and darts. The absence of crowds has been a bitter blow and I can’t wait to see venues safely operating at full capacity once again.”