ASA finds PokerStars TV ad to be socially irresponsible

Hot on the heels of the Committees of Advertising Practice’s new tougher standards of gambling advertising comes an Advertising Standards Authority ruling announced today (that can be downloaded below), concluding that a TV advertisement for PokerStars seen on 26 October 2017 portrayed gambling behaviour that was socially irresponsible and in the context of recklessness and therefore was in breach of the BCAP Code rules 17.3.1 and 17.3.8.

The ad (that can be viewed here) included a voice-over which said: “Here you are, the moment when bluffing is the only way to win, you’re freaking out kiddo, but think about all those times you bluffed yourself. Like the pull-up bar waiting for you to get back in-shape, that book you’re definitely going to read, your parents never ever had sex. Use that talent because if you can bluff yourself, you can bluff anyone. Pokerstars, you’re already a great poker player”.

The ASA states in its ruling that, while it was “acknowledged that big “all in” bluffs were a part of the game, we considered that the message that bluffing should be attempted without any experience of playing poker or any understanding of poker strategy portrayed gambling behaviour in the context of recklessness and in a manner that could lead to financial harm”.

In October 2014, the ASA published advice (that includes reference to a previous ad) entitled “Betting and gaming: Enhanced personal qualities and links with toughness, recklessness and resilience” to the effect that gambling products should not:

  • suggest that gambling can enhance personal qualities (for example that it can improve self-image or self-esteem, or is a way to gain control, superiority, recognition or admiration) or
  • portray gambling in a context of toughness or link it to resilience or recklessness.



Download article PDF: ASA Poker Stars Ruling 04.04.18