In the UK, online casino operators Paddy Power and InterCasino have become the first gaming companies to fall foul of Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) rules since televised commercials for gambling products and services were legalised last year.
The independent regulator stated that a series of four advertisements from InterCasino featuring two people of restricted growth dressed in various gambling-related costumes with a voiceover mocking a Japanese games show contravened rules because they appealed to children and young people. The ASA concluded that the whole run should not be shown again even though the industry body that approves adverts for transmission, Clearcast, maintained that the commercials had not been designed to appeal towards juveniles or adolescents.
The ASA also took issue with a commercial from bookmaker Paddy Power, which featured a short man in the back of a stretch limousine flanked by two glamorous looking women. The regulator stated that the on-screen message ‘Who says you can't make money being short?’ had irresponsibly linked gambling to seduction, sexual success and enhanced attractiveness. Paddy Power voluntarily withdrew the advert from all UK media outlets even though London Capital Group, the firm’s owner, maintained that it was only a play on words.
'It's a shame that some people can't see humour when it's put in front of them,” said Peter Marcus, Spokesperson for InterCasino.
“We'll continue, through advertising and other marketing channels, to try to entertain our customers in a way that our competitors don't. This is a very unusual and surprising ruling from the ASA given that it has not received any public complaints regarding the advertisements, which have been on air since September of 2007.'