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ASA Changes Rules for Bingo Operators

Recent changes at the Advertising Standards Authority mean that bingo ads must now conform to the same standards as other betting adverts. Wagering requirements must be made clearer, plus gambling must not be promoted as a “solution to financial concerns”.

The Advertising Standards Authority is understandably tough when it comes to betting-related advertising, be it digital, TV, radio or postal.

In recent days, it’s been reconsidering how bingo products should be advertised and has decided that they should now be treated the same as other betting products.

What’s changing?

Bingo adverts will now be subject to the “Gambling” section of the ASA’s Ad Codes.

These codes state that such ads should not encourage, condone or portray gambling behaviour that could lead to emotional, social or financial harm, and must be socially responsible.

Promotions that are included in adverts will also require additional thought before being made live as the ASA now wants all significant terms and conditions made clearer to readers and viewers.

The ASA has given an example of a bingo brand that failed to include a major T&C in one of its recent adverts. It says that a “Deposit £10, play £35” offer for Butlers Bingo did not divulge that there were certain wagering requirements that had to be met and, as anyone who took advantage of the offer would have needed to wager £125 before being able to withdraw any bonus winnings, it felt that it was a “significant condition” that should have been mentioned in the advert.

The ASA has also pointed out that ads which are restricted by space are not exempt from including significant terms and conditions.

Targeting adverts

The Authority’s Codes state that gambling ads must not be directed at minors. However, as it notes that users of online platforms such as Facebook may share accounts or lie about their age, it wants advertisers to target their ads via interest-based factors rather than age.

Misrepresentation of gambling

The ASA says that ads must not suggest that gambling can fix financial concerns, nor must they indicate that gambling can help provide an escape from personal issues like depression and loneliness. It banned a Rehab Bingo ad for these very reasons, despite Rehab Bingo being a brand name. It also banned an affiliate ad for Gala Bingo that suggested a debt-ridden player could “get 200 free chances to win”.

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