Watchdog busts SuperCasino ad for glamorising gambling

By Loulla-Mae Eleftheriou-Smith, campaignlive.co.uk, Wednesday, 30 May 2012 12:01AM

SuperCasino, the online betting service, has been forced by the Advertising Standards Authority to pull a TV ad judged to have glamorised gambling, which the brand claims is 'unjustified'.

The ad by Dene Films was broadcast in January on Channel 5. It featured a man with a casino chip in his hand walking down the street with a male friend.

They approach the entrance to a casino where they greet an attractive woman, hand the chip to the doorman and enter.

They walk through the casino and pass a roulette table. Another attractive woman joins the trio and exchanges a look with the main male character.

The ad's soundtrack included the lyrics, "Everybody wanna be famous... Las Vegas, VIP Status" while the voiceover explains, "Join our live spinners tonight and we'll give you £10 free. Supercasino.com. Feel it for real".

The Gambling Reform & Society Perception Group (GRASP) and one consumer complained about the ad, claiming it irresponsibly glamorised gambling.

SuperCasino told the ASA that the ad was intended to promote social gambling, hence the use of a group, rather than lone gambling.

It said the ad was not intended to convey any message that suggested gambling enhanced personal qualities, while Clearcast argued that the characters were over 25-years-old and the ad did not feature any flirting or sexual success.

However, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) decided the meaningful look coupled with the exclusivity suggested by getting entrance to a club with a casino chip and references to fame, having a VIP status and linking gambling with social recognition or attractiveness, broke the code on advertising gambling.

It ruled the ad must not be shown again in its current form.

In response to the ruling Supercasino.com provided the following statement stressing its disappointment.

"NetPlay TV takes its responsibilities as an advertiser extremely seriously and all promotional material for television is subject to stringent in-house compliance procedures before being passed before Clearcast for formal approval. 

"Our compliance process for this advertisement was no different and we engaged in discussions and script approvals with Clearcast at pre-production and when the final clocked version of the advertisement was submitted to them for clearance.

"Clearcast made it clear during this process that they did not feel the ad showed any flirting or sexual success and that "nothing in the ad implied that the characters' personal qualities had been enhanced through gambling.

"It was clear to them, and ourselves, that the characters in the ad simply entered a casino as a group of friends and nothing of their self-image or self-esteem was improved by this experience and so could not be held in breach of the Cap code.

"Frustratingly, regardless of the scripts and finished advert gaining approval within the Cap code as assessed by Clearcast, the ASA have now upheld their ruling of a breach of the Cap code, despite a reasoned explanation on the part of both ourselves and Clearcast as to why this ruling would be unjustified.

"It is with regret that we will now be unable to show this, one of SuperCasino's most successful advertisements, again in future."

Last year the ASA rapped 888.com for a pop-up Facebook ad that promised consumers free weekly spins.

The watchdog ruled the ad used references to addiction to encourage gambling.

Follow Loulla-Mae Eleftheriou-Smith at @loullamae_es

This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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