Ads for Napoleons Casinos fall foul of ASA ruling

The Advertising Standards Authority (‘ASA’) has today (13 October 2021) upheld a complaint made against A&S Leisure Group Ltd in relation to ads on a website and Facebook post for Napoleons Casinos:

  • stating that they must not appear again in the form complained of and
  • reiterating to A&S Leisure the need to ensure that in future their ads do not create the impression that consumers could gamble without limits or restrictions.

In terms of the background circumstances, a complainant challenged whether the claims “unlimited gambling” and “unlimited gaming” in the following ads were socially irresponsible:

(a) The website, seen on 16 August 2021, stated on the home page, “Enjoy unlimited gambling in all of our Napoleons Casinos …”.

(b) The post on Napoleons Casinos Facebook page also seen on 16 August 2021 stated, “Napoleons Casino & Restaurant…Unlimited Gaming Entry into Prize Draws Access to all our UK Branches”.

(c) The FAQs page on the website under the heading “What are the benefits of becoming a Member?” stated, “If you produce appropriate ID you will have access to unrestricted gambling …”.

The ASA itself challenged whether the claim “unrestricted gambling” was also irresponsible.

Response by the A&S Leisure Group

A&S Leisure defended their position by contending as follows:

  1. As a fully licensed casino operator based in the UK they were governed by the Money Laundering Regulations;
  2. Since 2007, under those regulations, consumers could enter their casinos as visitors without identification or as ‘full members’ who had produced valid identification;
  3. Visitors had a limit set on how much they could spend on gaming tables and slot machines and how much they could cash out, but the limits did not apply to full members, hence use of the term ‘unlimited gambling’;
  4. However, they had decided some time ago that, although “technically correct”, the claim ‘unlimited gambling’ could be misconstrued;
  5. It had therefore decided to use instead the claim ‘unrestricted gambling’ and had changed all their advertising accordingly;
  6. Nevertheless, some instances were missed (as in the current ads) and had been amended.

They said that they would remove any reference to either ‘unlimited’ or ‘unrestricted’ gambling on all of their web pages and social media and that those claims would not appear in any of their marketing material in future.

ASA Assessment

The ASA upheld the complaints stating in its ruling:

The CAP Code stated that ads must not portray, condone or encourage gambling behaviour that was socially irresponsible or could lead to financial, social or emotional harm. The ASA understood that under the applicable Money Laundering Regulations, limits were set as to the amounts that members and non-members of Napoleons Casinos were allowed to spend or cash out at the casino. However, we considered that most consumers would be unaware that the claim “unlimited gambling” referred specifically to those limits set by the regulations.

We considered that the claim “unlimited gaming” was likely to have the same meaning as “unlimited gambling” since gaming in a casino inevitably required that consumers spent money. Therefore, in relation to ads (a) and (b) we considered that the claims “unlimited gambling” and “unlimited gaming” gave the impression that consumers could gamble at the casino without limits or restrictions. We therefore considered the ads promoted that feature as a benefit of using their service which we considered condoned or encouraged consumers to engage in irresponsible gambling behaviour that could lead to financial, social or emotional harm.

In relation to ad (c), we noted that Napoleons Casinos had changed their advertising to refer to “unrestricted gambling” instead of ‘unlimited gambling’ to avoid the claim being misconstrued and to clarify the meaning. However, we considered that “unrestricted gambling” would have the same meaning to consumers as ‘unlimited gambling’ and created the same impression that Napoleons Casinos had no limits or restrictions on the amount of time or money that consumers were able to spend in their casinos.

We welcomed Napoleons Casino’s assurances that they would no longer use the claims “unlimited” or “unrestricted” gambling and gaming in their ads. However, we considered that the overall impression of the claims in ads (a), (b) and (c) was that consumers could gamble without limits or restrictions, and therefore condoned or encouraged consumers to engage in irresponsible gambling behaviour that could lead to financial, social or emotional harm. We therefore concluded that the ads were irresponsible and breached the Code.

The ads breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 16.1  16.3 and 16.3.1 (Gambling).

You can download the ASA ruling below.