ASA Dismisses Betfred Bingo Ad Complaint

By Ben Hamill - April 24 2019

Betfred Bingo Ad Not At Fault Says ASA

The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has published a ruling involving a complaint received relating to a Betfred advertisement showing a three individuals engrossed in everyday activities whilst enjoying a game of Bingo on their mobile devices. The ad features a woman taking a bath, a man busy preparing a meal, and a second woman exercising.

The complainant based the complaint on the opinion that the ad sought to normalise gambling activities by associating those activities with everyday activities, and in so doing, posing a decided risk in terms of insinuating to high-risk players that gambling should in fact play a prominent role in day-to-day activities.

The ASA, after having considered the response and counter-arguments from Betfred, decided not to uphold the complaint against the operator.

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No Excessive Playing Involved

Betfred responded to the viewer’s complaint by saying that it was important to take cognisance of the fact that the ad did not suggest that Bingo should be played obsessively or even excessively throughout the day. What’s more, said Betfred, there were no insinuations made to the effect of Bingo being in any way more of a priority than other social or everyday activities. There wasn’t a portrayal of unrealistic emotions that could possibly be construed as creating unrealistic expectations of Bingo, and neither was any reference made to any form of high-stakes gambling.

The main disqualifier in terms of the complaint, said the operator, was the fact that Bingo was merely depicted as an activity happening alongside other activities. At no point did the ad suggest that Bingo purported to replace those actives or enjoy priority over those activities.

Gambling Not Depicted As Replacement

The ASA agreed on all counts and opted to side with the operator. It stated by way of feedback that it agreed that gambling wasn’t being depicted as a replacement for any other area of everyday life. Bingo was being advertised as being a form of entertainment, and a supplementary one at that; and definitely not a game looking to occupy someone’s entire day.

The ASA also stated that it had evaluated the various elements of the ad by filtering these through the provisions of the BCAP Code rules, and that nothing of any concern had stood out as something that deserved the red flag.

Betfred welcomed the decision by the ASA. The ad drew the attention of the complainant when it was aired in the UK on January 20.

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