ASA ruling clarifies its 25% protected age category rule

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has made a ruling that serves to clarify its requirement that marketers demonstrate that gambling ads are not placed in media where the protected age category makes up more than 25% of the audience.

In the case that is the subject of the above ruling, an ad for the Merkur Cashino AGC in Cotteridge, featuring a “£5 free play” promotion, was seen on a child’s ticket on a bus route that served schools.

The ASA considered that, because the ads appeared on the back of bus tickets, they did not appear in media that was specifically directed at under 18s. It was therefore necessary to review whether the proportion of under 18s who made up the audience of the ad was more than 25%. The ASA considered that, in areas where there might be a concentration of people under 18 (for example on a bus route which served schools), the proportion of under 18s in the ad’s audience might be higher than 25%. However, on the particular bus route identified by the complainant, the highest percentage of child-fare paper tickets issued was 15% during term time. The ASA understood that across the bus company’s network, only 3% of all passengers were issued child-fare paper tickets during term time. It therefore concluded that because the proportion of under 18s in the audience for the ad was under 25% of the total audience, the ad did not breach the Code.

You can download the ruling below.