Foxy Games gambling ad deemed socially irresponsible
How careful do you need to be with ad copy that presents gambling as a solution to financial concerns? And what about search terms which direct you to the ad?The key takeaway
Ads which suggest that gambling can be used as a solution to financial concerns, an alternative to employment or a mechanism through which to achieve financial security will be in breach of the advertising rules and therefore deemed irresponsible. Care with the wording used is critical as is the context in which such ads appear.
A paid-for Google search ad for Foxy Games (placed by Electraworks Ltd t/a Foxy Games) was displayed in July 2020, appearing when the search term “make money online” was used. The ad used the text “Earn Money Online – Foxy Games – Play Online”.The complaint and the response
The ASA received a complaint that the ad suggested that consumers could obtain financial security by playing the advertised slots and games and that this was irresponsible.
Electraworks’ response was that the ad had been displayed as a result of human error and that it had consequently taken action to remove it.
The ASA unsurprisingly upheld the ruling against Electraworks, finding that the ad breached CAP Code rules 16.1 and 16.3.4 (Gambling). The CAP Code expressly states that advertisers must not suggest that gambling can be a solution to an individual’s financial concerns, an alternative to employment or a way to achieve financial security. Electraworks’ ad text “Earn Money Online” was considered by the ASA to suggest that Electraworks’ Foxy Games could be used as a method of earning money and serve as a regular income stream. On the grounds that the ad suggested gambling was a way to achieve financial security, the ASA found it was socially irresponsible, in breach of the CAP Code, and must not appear again in the form complained of.Why is this important?
This ruling highlights the ASA’s willingness to ban ads that suggest that gambling can be used as a mechanism to achieve financial security. The ASA’s primary concern was with the form in which the ad appeared; namely, the wording “Earn Money Online”, which suggested that the gambling system offered could be used to earn money and therefore attain a regular source of income. In addition, the fact that it was displayed when the search term “make money online” was used, bolstered this message.
Any practical tips?
Gambling advertisers must take care to ensure that the wording used in their ads makes no suggestion that the service offered can be used to provide a source of financial income. Advertisers must also ensure that paid-for Google search ads in relation to gambling are not shown in connection with searches linked to making money or otherwise improving personal financial security. Ultimately, gambling should never be presented as a solution to an individual’s financial issues.