ASA finds a gambling ad of particular appeal to children, despite age-gating

The Advertising Standards Authority has upheld a complaint that the content of a Gala Spins gambling ad (in the form of paid-for Facebook post) was likely to be of particular appeal to children, despite it being posted on the operator’s 18+ age-gated Facebook account.

The ad:

  • included a caption which stated “IT’S A ROLLERCOASTER OF CUTENESS!”
  • included a video which:
    • began with a voice-over that stated “What’s your spin?” and
    • included text that stated “GALA Spins” and “What’s your spin?”, following which the video showed text which stated “Fluffy Favourites” and five toy animals.

Responding to the complaint, LC International Limited (that trades as Gala Spins) is reported in the ASA ruling as having said that:

  • the ad was posted on their Facebook account which was age-gated to those who were over 18 years old,
  • age restriction would immediately prevent those who were underage from viewing and accessing the Gala Spins page,
  • they posted the video featuring stuffed animals in error and that it was an out-of-date video,
  • the stuffed toys featured in the eight-second video appeared between seconds four and six; viewers would have had to press play for the video to run,
  • the video was part of a multi-channel campaign targeting females in the UK aged between 18 and 65 with an interest in gambling and online gaming,
  • analytics of the campaign showed that none of those who saw the ad were under 18 years old and all were women, and
  • the ad had since been taken down on all channels.

Upholding the complaint, the ASA has said within its ruling (that can be downloaded below):

The CAP Code stated that gambling ads must not be likely to be of particular appeal to children or young persons, especially by reflecting or being associated with youth culture. Gambling ads could not therefore appeal more strongly to under-18s than they did to over-18s.

The ASA understood that the ad was not seen in an age-gated environment and outside of that environment Gala Spins had taken steps to target the ad only at those between 18 and 65 years of age. However, we understood that targeting of the ad was based on an audience which had self-reported their age and where there were otherwise no prohibitions on under-18s. Therefore, the steps taken could not ensure that under-18s, who falsely reported their age, were not exposed to the ad. We therefore considered whether it complied with the Code’s requirement that gambling ads must not be of particular appeal to children.

We considered that the cartoon-like imagery of five stuffed toy animals was likely to appeal to under-18s. We considered the game’s name “Fluffy Favourites”, and the ad’s caption “IT’S A ROLLERCOASTER OF CUTENESS!”, were likely to strengthen that appeal. We considered that those factors combined to give the ad a child-like theme. For those reasons, we considered that the ad was likely to be of particular appeal to under-18s, and therefore concluded that the ad was irresponsible and breached the Code.

The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 16.1 and 16.3.12 (Gambling).