Yesterday we published a story about the rebranding of a Microgaming powered bingo site, Rehab Bingo. We were stumped as to why the established brand had made the choice to relaunch as Rosy Bingo but then the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) published their rulings for 14th March and all became clear…
Despite never having attracted complaints in the 13 years that Rehab Bingo had been established, two complaints were raised recently which were investigated and upheld.
It was the ASA that raised the issues and these were:
1. “Rehab Bingo” condoned socially irresponsible gambling behaviour that could lead to financial, social or emotional harm; and
2. “Rehab Bingo” suggested that gambling could provide an escape from personal problems.
These were investigated by the ASA because of two ads:
a. The website www.rehabbingo.co.uk , which featured the brand name on the home page of the website and throughout the website.
b. The paid-for-search ad on Google which appeared when the term “rehabbingo” was searched for and stated “Join Official Rehab Bingo Now”.
Bureaucracy Gone Made Against Rehab Bingo?
We get that the ASA and Gambling Commission are a bit gung-ho at the moment but to force a brand that has been established for 13 years, and one that donates a percentage of its profits to a charity of the same name, to change their branding just seems a little excessive to us!
Broadway Gaming Ltd, the people who operate the brand, did say in their response that the name could be changed in their response to the investigation and the ASA insisted on it.
The ASA upheld the two issues because it was felt that the term ‘rehab’ in the context of gambling was socially irresponsible.
They also felt that the term ‘rehabbingo’ suggested the online bingo was a form of rehab and that it could be used to alleviate personal problems and therefore the ads, and ultimately the site, were in breach of three CAP Codes – 16.1, 16.3.1 and 16.3.3.
A Very Personal Opinion
We’ve been aware of Rehab Bingo since the day it was launched and never once, not even from the day we first heard the name, did we think it suggested that bingo was a way to alleviate one’s problems.
A visit to the site in the early days made it quite clear as to why the site was called Rehab Bingo and maybe Broadway Gaming’s only fault was that they should have done more to promote the link between the site and the Rehab Group.
The ASA seems to be labeling everyone over the age of 18 as imbeciles who don’t have two brain cells to their name and trying to do the thinking for us and whilst we appreciate that there are vulnerable people out there, and gambling addiction is a problem, isn’t this just a bit excessive?
You can read the Rehab Bingo ASA ruling here.