UK advertising watchdog says gambling can be a “positive experience”

TAGs: Advertising Standards Authority, William Hill

avertising-standards-authority-gambling-positive-experienceThe UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has declared that gambling can be “a positive experience.”

The ASA made this pronouncement in its ruling on a complaint filed against UK bookies William Hill. The kerfuffle kicked off when some killjoy received an email from William Hill Casino regarding a first-deposit bonus.

The email’s subject header read: “You were born to be happy,” which the recipient suggested was irresponsible. Specifically, Mr. Miserable felt that Hills was suggesting that gambling could provide an escape from an individual’s personal problems.

Hills’ parent company WHG (International) Ltd. responded by saying the subject header wasn’t related to the specifics of the offer contained therein. Moreover, they rejected the notion that the ‘cheer up, you miserable git’ sentiments expressed in the subject was in any way socially irresponsible, as it didn’t imply that gambling was the cure for personal, professional or educational problems such as loneliness, depression or a tendency to pick fights with one’s in-box.

In making its ruling, the ASA acknowledged that some blinkered Philistines might “read the disconnect” between the email’s subject and body text as “implying that gambling could create happiness where it was otherwise lacking.” However, the “more natural interpretation of the ad was simply that gambling could be a positive experience.” As such, the ASA ruled that the message wasn’t “inherently irresponsible” and that there’d been no breach of the advertising Code.

The ASA’s observation supports research by the Democracy Institute’s Dr. Patrick Basham, author of A Healthy Bet, which demonstrated that gambling was a positive influence in most people’s lives and that, on the whole, gamblers were nicer folks than their non-gambling critics.


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