Note: This advice is given by the CAP Executive about non-broadcast advertising. It does not constitute legal advice. It does not bind CAP, CAP advisory panels or the Advertising Standards Authority.
The Gambling Act 2005 came fully into effect on 1 September 2007 and the Gaming section of the CAP Code (clauses 54.1 to 54.7) has been replaced by clauses 57.1 to 57.4. From 1 September 2007, all gambling ads needed to comply with the new rules and the law. The Gambling Act does not apply outside Great Britain. Specialist legal advice should be sought when considering advertising gambling products in Northern Ireland or the Channel Islands.
The gambling clauses set out that ads for gambling products should neither exploit the susceptibilities, inexperience or lack of knowledge of young or vulnerable people (clause 57.2) nor imply that gambling can provide an escape from personal and professional problems (clause 57.4 (c)).
In 2008, the ASA considered an ad that stated “BET TO FORGET” and featured a photograph of the footballer Eric Cantona, who seemed to be dressed as a knight. The advertiser said the ad was meant to be interpreted as a light-hearted reference to England not qualifying for the Euro 2008 Championship. The advertiser also said Eric Cantona was dressed as King Arthur as the website linked through to various King Eric films, including one where he pronounces “… Europe kicked you out of the Euro, who cares? BET to be king … BET to forget …”. The ASA believed the link between “BET TO FORGET” and England’s failure to qualify was unclear and considered that the claim was likely to be interpreted, especially by vulnerable people, as suggesting that gambling could provide an escape from personal problems (Partouche Betting Ltd, 8 October 2008).
Also, ads for gambling products must not suggest that gambling can be a solution to financial concerns, an alternative to employment or a way to achieve financial security (clause 57.4 (d)).
In February 2009, the ASA considered complaints about an ad, for a football-betting service, that stated “Beating the city boys at their own game” and showed a group of men holding a football, laughing and clenching their fists in celebration. Text stated “Returned 13.56% last season … with inflation eating away at savings. Property marketing in crisis. Stock market suffering … Why not try an alternative method. Log onto www.requestabet.com ...”. The ASA considered the ad presented gambling as an alternative form of investment and was misleading and irresponsible (Sohi Capital Partners ltd, 25 February 2009).