Ladbrokes television advertisement falls foul of the ASA watchdog


In the United Kingdom and the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has reportedly banned a television spot from the Ladbrokes online gambling and sportsbetting brand after ruling that it depicted socially irresponsible gambling behaviors.

According to a Tuesday report from The Independent newspaper, the offending advert was broadcast in April and had begun with a commentary that declared ‘I’m a nodder; up to the football, down to the app like a dog on a dashboard’. The controversial commercial purportedly then went on to show a man supposedly using the brand’s mobile sportsbetting app while at a train station and accompanied by a voiceover that asserted ‘when I bet, I’m a frustrated manager. I kick every ball’.

Exhibiting excitement:

The newspaper reported that the contentious spot subsequently featured a scene in which three football fans jumped and screamed as a goal was scored but then became tense and nervous as this action was reviewed by the game’s video assistant referee (VAR).

Petitioner’s plea:

The Independent reported that one viewer had complained to the ASA by alleging that the Ladbrokes commercial was not socially responsible because it portrayed individuals who appeared to be addicted to gambling. Although the operator had vehemently defended the spot, the watchdog nevertheless purportedly agreed with this objection and ordered the brand from prominent iGaming firm Entain to cease showing the dubious advert.

Regulatory rationale:

In its judgement, the ASA reportedly disclosed that the first character in the advert appeared to be continually placing bets rather than being focused on the game itself while its second scene had depicted a man who appeared to be detached from his surroundings courtesy of a preoccupation with gambling. The regulator moreover purportedly explained that the voiceover from the spot’s third act could well imply that the exhibited excitement had come from the potential winning of an accumulator rather than from the actual football.

Reportedly read the judgement from the ASA…

“We considered that mood swings related to gambling was a problem gambling behavior. Because the ad appeared to depict a major mood swing and directly related it to the tension of potentially winning an accumulator rather than just watching sports, we considered that the ad depicted problem gambling behavior. For those reasons, we concluded that the ad depicted gambling behavior that was socially irresponsible and, therefore, breached the code.”

Subsequent suggestion:

At the same time as ordering Ladbrokes to stop showing the offending advert, the ASA furthermore reportedly told the brand ‘to ensure future ads did not depict gambling behavior that was socially irresponsible’ by featuring characters that were detached from their surroundings or exhibiting ‘mood swings and [a] preoccupation with gambling.





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