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ASA bans animated Coral Interactive ads for under-18s appeal

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has reprimanded Coral Interactive, following a complaint that challenged whether the content of three adverts would have a particular appeal to children.

Ads in question were seen on February 20 of this year and related to the Rainbow Riches, Fishin’ Frenzy and Lucky Wizard titles, which feature animated images, including that of a leprechaun, pot of gold, fishes in the ocean and a wizard, across the trio.

In its response Coral Interactive, a division of the GVC owned Ladbrokes Coral Group, stated that an extensive review of its site had been conducted, checking all on-site game titles and promotional material, to ensure that they were not in breach of any rules within the CAP Code.

A plethora of points were raised in defense of each game, which questioned an appeal to under-18s, emphasised certain aspects that were removed to make an appeal to under-18s less likely, and stressed that they didn’t believe specific facet’s resembled certain characters from both fairy tale stories and animated films.

In its assessment the ASA upheld the complaint, before stressing: “The CAP Code stated that gambling ads must not be likely to be of particular appeal to children or young persons, especially by reflecting or being associated with youth culture. Gambling ads could not therefore appeal more strongly to under-18s than they did to over-18s.”

Evaluating each of three games individually, it was concluded that the aspects of animation constituted an increased appeal to under-18s as opposed to over-18s, with the ASA adding: “Therefore, because we considered ads (a), (b) and (c) featured animated images that were likely to be of particular appeal to under-18s and were marketing gambling products, we concluded that they breached the CAP Code.”

As a result of the ruling, the adverts must not appear again in their current form, whilst Coral Interactive has been told to ensure future gambling ads do not have a particular appeal to the under-18 demographic.

Furthermore two issues were raised against betting tipster service Isiris Racing Services, challenging the wording used in the national press ad (Racing Post) that appeared on October 12 last year, specifically whether:

  1. the claim “the success rate for Isiris members has been phenomenal, with win bets and/or each way-bets introducing a successful return on over 90% of these bets. That is 50 out of 55 bets” was misleading and could be substantiated; and
  2. the claim “all our bets are proofed to the Racing Post before racing as evidence that these claims are 100% genuine” was misleading.

Responding Isiris provided a spreadsheet which it claims showed the 55 bets stated in the ad, and contained details of stake, price, result and profit and loss figures, for bets across various sports.

It was stressed that the bets would match the proofing emails which would be provided by the Racing Post, who provided information relating to the audit of their proofing system.   

Upholding both counts as part of its actions, the ASA stated: “the ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Isiris Racing Services not to claim success rates for their bets, or that their bets were proofed to demonstrate their genuineness, unless they held adequate evidence to substantiate such claims”.

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