It was only a few weeks ago that no less than four online gambling operators had a stern telling off by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) because of something a third party did. On 4th October 2017 it was the turn of the Gala Bingo who were the victims of the same third party advertiser!
The offending ad was seen on another website, not that of Gala Bingo, and had the headline “On Their Wedding Night He Delivered A Secret That She Just Wasn’t Ready For”.
The text of the article told of a chap called William who had £130,000 of debt and was paying for his wife’s cancer treatment. It’s pretty much identical to the advertorials that caused issues for Ladbrokes, Sky Vegas, Casumo and 888.
The Complaint About Gala Bingo
As before, the complainant challenged whether the advertorial made it’s commercial intent clear. The ASA also felt that it was socially irresponsible for suggesting that gambling could offer an escape from depression and be a solution for financial concerns.
As expected, and as the other four gambling companies did, Gala Bingo defended their position and explained to the ASA that is was created by an affiliate and removed. Sadly we found two other versions of the advertorial still available online on the same day that the ruling was published!
The affiliate account was terminated by Gala Bingo and all affiliates were reminded of their obligations when promoting the brand.
The ad itself had actually been created by a sub-affiliate of a Gala Bingo affiliate and the affiliate has also terminated the agreement with the offending publisher.
The ASA Ruling Against Gala Bingo
Whilst the ASA accepted that the ad had been produced by a third party, the ultimate responsibility lay with Gala Bingo as the company we were benefitting from the marketing.
Both parts of the complaint were upheld with breaches on the following CAP Codes:
Marketing communications must be obviously identifiable as such.
Marketing communications must not falsely claim or imply that the marketer is acting as a consumer or for purposes outside its trade, business, craft or profession; marketing communications must make clear their commercial intent, if that is not obvious from the context.
Marketing communications for gambling must be socially responsible, with particular regard to the need to protect children, young persons and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited.
Marketing communications must not:
suggest that gambling can provide an escape from personal, professional or educational problems such as loneliness or depression
suggest that gambling can be a solution to financial concerns, an alternative to employment or a way to achieve financial security