Don’t be a joker: Gambling and the Advert Rules

Aug 27th '20

Gambling advertising can be a risky business.  Alongside all of the usual rules around misleading claims, promotional marketing and offence, there are also specific rules for gambling to ensure that ads are socially responsible.  This includes not condoning gambling behaviour that could lead to financial harm and not suggesting that it can be a solution to financial concerns.


There are a good deal of ways that ads could go bust, but following the advice below should help you work out the optimal strategy for advertising compliance.


Gambler’s Fallacy

Gambling ads must not portray, condone or encourage behaviour that could lead to financial, social, or emotional harm.  This includes encouraging consumers to continue gambling after a loss (LC International Limited t/a Coral), implying that consumers can excel in poker without previous experience (Stars Interactive Ltd t/a Poker Stars) and emphasising the buzz consumers may feel while gambling (Eaton Gate Gaming Ltd t/a Kwiff).


That’s not to say that you have to pass on acknowledging that gambling can be exciting (Nozee Ltd t/a Virgin Games), but it’s wise to set a limit on behaviour shown.


Beginner’s Luck

Gambling ads must not exploit the susceptibilities, aspirations, credulity, inexperience or lack of knowledge of children, young persons or other vulnerable persons.  This includes encouraging consumers to place higher bets to improve their chances of winning and suggesting that their luck could improve (AG Communications Ltd t/a and presenting the gambling service as a stock, making it seem like an investment opportunity (BetIndex Ltd).


It’s a much safer bet to be clear that your game is one of chance.



While winning a large sum of money is the subject of many a daydream, gambling ads must not suggest that gambling can be a solution to financial concerns, an alternative to employment or a way to achieve financial security.  The Advertising Standards Authority’s (ASA) deemed an ad from a betting tipster to be irresponsible when he claimed he had been able to leave his job due to his gambling system (Paul Coleman).


It’s not just about the claims of the amount you can win – associating a celebrity lifestyle with gambling can be enough to run the risk of ruin (Power Leisure Bookmakers Ltd t/a Paddy Power).


Don’t Act out of Turn

Gambling ads must not show gambling taking priority in life.  One ad that showed a man bored at work who waited until after his shift to gamble, was judged to be acceptable by showing that gambling did not take priority over his work commitments (PPB Entertainment Ltd t/a Paddy Power Games).  Another ad showed various people being reminded of gambling as they went about normal activities, such as ordering a sandwich, but they were not distracted from their tasks, showing that gambling did not take priority in their lives (LC International Ltd t/a Ladbrokes).


Laughing Boy

Appeal to children is a key concern for gambling ads and ads should not appeal to under-18s more than to over-18s.  The ASA has scrutinised not just gambling ad content, but the media through which ads are delivered, the characters shown, cartoon graphics and even product names for their appeal to children.


Gambling ads also have to ensure that their ads do not feature anyone who is or appears to be under 25 years old (regardless of their actual age) gambling or playing a significant role.  This refers both to youthful actors (Betfair Casino Ltd t/a Betfair) and extends to young sports stars playing a sport to be bet on (Petfre (Gibraltar) Ltd t/a Totesport).


Source: Committee of Advertising Practice.


How can we help!

At LS Consultancy, we provide a cost-effective and timely pre-publication advice to make sure all your advertising and campaigns are compliant, clear and suitable for their purpose.


We are experts in Marketing and Compliance, and work with a range of firms to assist with improving their documents, processes and systems to mitigate any risk.


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