Betting and gaming: Sex and sexual success


INSIGHT
Published
Oct 30th '14
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The Gambling Act 2005 came fully into effect on 1 September 2007. Under section 16 of the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) Code, marketers should not exploit the young or vulnerable nor imply gambling can solve financial or personal problems or is indispensable, a rite of passage or linked with sexual success. All gambling ads must comply with the Code and the law. The Gambling Act does not apply outside Great Britain. Specialist legal advice should be sought when considering advertising any gambling products in Northern Ireland or the Channel Islands.

 

The Gambling (Licensing and advertising) Act 2014 will take effect on the 1st November 2014. It contains provisions relating to the licensing of gambling operators advertising or offering remote gambling facilities to consumers in the UK. CAP urge you to seek legal advice regarding the requirements of the act if you are unsure.

 

The CAP Code states “Marketing communications must not link gambling to seduction, sexual success or enhanced attractiveness”.

 

In 2009, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) upheld complaints about an ad that showed a confident man sitting between two glamorous women and was headlined, “We believe all traders deserve privileges.” The ASA noted the women were touching the man’s arms intimately and considered that readers were likely to infer from the ad that one of the rewards of success with spread betting was enhanced attractiveness and increased sexual success (Spreadex Ltd, 11 February 2009).

 

Another ad that breached that clause featured a short man sitting in the back of a stretched limousine, holding a cigar and a glass of champagne and flanked by two glamorous-looking women. The text stated, “WHO SAYS YOU CAN’T MAKE MONEY BEING SHORT?” Although it acknowledged that the ad was a play on the traditional stereotype of attractiveness, that was sometimes prejudiced against shorter men and the pun of “going short”, the ASA considered that the ad implied short men could be more attractive with greater wealth acquired by gambling. The ASA decided the ad was irresponsible because it linked gambling with sexual success and enhanced attractiveness (Paddy Power plc, 23 April 2008).

 

A poster ad for Wink Bingo, which appeared on the side of a bus, featured topless men smiling and pointing towards text stating “£35 FREE* Go on … you know you want to”. Whilst the ASA noted that the complainant believed this was a link between gambling and sex, they also noted that the men were not positioned in a sexually suggestive manner, and that the phrase “Go on … you know you want to” was related directly to a £35 offer rather than the topless men. In light of this the complaint was not upheld (Cassava Enterprises (Gibraltar) Ltd t/a WinkBingo.com, June 2013).

 

Source: CAP

 

Note: This advice is given by the CAP Executive about non-broadcast advertising. It does not constitute legal advice. It does not bind CAP, CAP advisory panels or the ASA. CAP’s Advice Online entries provide guidance on interpreting the UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising and Direct & Promotional Marketing.

 

Related: Betting and gaming: General

 

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We are aware that sometimes whether something is of particular appeal to under-18s can be nuanced – therefore, marketers are welcome to get a view from our Copy Advice team which provides pre-publication advice on advertising at any stage.

 

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