BUSINESS

Animated slots, fibbing tipsters earn UK ad watchdog’s wrath

TAGs: Advertising Standards Authority, Coral

uk-advertising-watchdog-kid-friendly-slotsThe UK’s advertising watchdog has fingered online gambling operator Coral for offering casino games that could appeal to kids.

On Tuesday, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) upheld a trio of complaints regarding Coral Interactive’s promotion of slots titles that a complainant (presumably the Campaign for Fairer Gambling) alleged were “likely to be of particular appeal to children.”

The three products were promoted on the Coral.co.uk site on February 20. The offending slots were titled Rainbow Riches, Fishin’ Frenzy and Lucky Wizard, and featured animated images of leprechauns, swimming fish and wizards, respectively.

Coral, now part of GVC Holdings’ family of gambling brands, argued that the animated figures weren’t excessively cartoonish, didn’t specifically resemble characters from any animated films and generally weren’t over the top. As a result, Coral maintains that there was no indication that the images would have more appeal for children than for over-18s.

But the ASA found the leprechaun’s face “highly stylized with a large nose, intensely flushed cheeks, big pointy ears and had a big smile showing his large teeth.” The fish were depicted “in a cute child-like manner,” while the wizard featured “a large podgy nose, exaggerated cheekbones and had a thick colorful ginger beard with a long moustache with slightly curled tips.” Bottom line: ASA 3, Coral 0.

Three weeks ago, the ASA spanked a trio of sites on similar grounds, demonstrating its willingness to enforce the ‘no kid-friendly games’ edict in the joint letter the ASA issued last October with other UK regulatory agencies.

LIES, DAMNED LIES AND TIPSTERS’ SUCCESS CLAIMS
The ASA’s second trip to the woodshed this week had to do with betting tipsters Isiris Racing Services. A complainant found fault with a Racing Post ad last October that made the astonishing claim of Isiris customers enjoying “a successful return on over 90%” of some 55 wagers made “in the past 6 months or so.”

The complainant was none other than Lord Lipsey, a member of the Starting Price Regulatory Commission, but in this instance Lipsey was acting in a personal capacity. Lipsey called bullshit on Isiris’ claim of having correctly picked 50 of 55 bets and that all of these bets “are proofed to the Racing Post before racing as evidence that these claims are 100% genuine.”

In response, Isiris provided the ASA with a spreadsheet detailing their wagering activity, but the spreadsheet “included many more bets than 55, and a number of them appeared to include multiple bets within one line.” Furthermore, “a significant number appeared to show losses, and no combination of bets from 6 April appeared to show 50 wins out of 55 bets.”

Isiris also failed to produce any evidence that the ads had been proofed “following a robust system that had been approved and regularly monitored.” The ASA therefore ordered Isiris “not to claim success rates for their bets” unless they could provide the necessary evidence.

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