Daily Star gambling ad banned for sexism

A TV ad for the Daily Star's gambling site, Daily Star Wins, has been banned for objectifying women and suggesting betting could enhance personal qualities and attractiveness.

The spot, created by Channel 5 and seen in January, depicts two men, initially stood in a bar, who are whisked away to a casino staffed by women in gold-sequined dresses. The voiceover says: "For you card sharks we’ve got real female croupiers who can handle that", and then "Or if roulette is your thing, we’ll put you in a spin 24/7".

The voiceover says: "For you card sharks we’ve got real female croupiers who can handle that", and then "Or if roulette is your thing, we’ll put you in a spin 24/7".

One person complained the ad was offensive because it was sexist and objectified women, while the Advertising Standards Authority itself challenged whether it linked gambling to seduction, sexual success or enhanced attractiveness.

Bear Group, the owner of Daily Star Wins, said the ad was intended to highlight that players could have their bets taken by female croupiers, in contrast to the male-dominated depiction of the profession in the past.

It added that the ad’s protagonists were shown wearing ordinary everyday clothes throughout the ad and argued this was a deliberate decision to avoid glamourising gambling. Because there was no direct interaction between them and the casino’s staff, Bear Group said there was no suggestion of seduction, sexual success or enhanced attractiveness.

But the ads standards watchdog said the spot featured "intense looks" between the two men and the female employees and that, combined with the voiceover, this meant the ad objectified the women it featured.

And on the second point, the ASA said it noticed that in the first scene in the bar, the only person who interacted with the men was the barman – whereas by the end, others gathered around them. The ASA said this implied the men's gambling had gained them recognition and admiration – making them more popular and attractive to women.

The ASA ruled that the ad breached the BCAP Code on harm and offence, and gambling, and ordered that it not appear again in its current form.

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