ASA uphold complaint against LC International Ltd t/a Ladbrokes

The UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld a complaint against LC International Ltd t/a Ladbrokes.

A complaint was raised regarding a video on demand (VOD) ad for a Ladbrokes mobile phone app, which was aired on All4 on 25 October 2020.

“The complainant challenged whether the ad depicted gambling behaviour that was socially irresponsible.”

The ASA ruled that “based on the scene and the simultaneous voice-over referring to ‘starter’s orders’, viewers were likely to interpret the ad as showing him watching the television as the race was about to begin. He was watching intently, and his shaking the table with his knee which, while clearly intended to be humorous, suggested he was preoccupied with the race while his food remained untouched. He was described as being a ‘bag of nerves’, which we considered viewers were likely to interpret was as a result of his having placed a bet on the race. It was clear that he was engrossed in the race to the extent that his companion had to point out his actions to bring his attention away from watching the television. We noted that, after responding to his companion, he appeared to turn away, though the shot was brief and he was looking down. We disagreed with Clearcast’s view that the man was never disconnected from his companion, or from the room, and considered viewers would assume from his behaviour that he was preoccupied with the outcome of the race in relation to a bet he had placed. We also considered that the man was obviously detached from his surroundings as he watched.”

They stated that ads should not depict socially irresponsible gambling behaviour.

“Marketers should take care to avoid an implication of such behaviours, for instance, outwardly light-hearted or humorous approaches that could be regarded as portrayals of those behaviours. Behaviours associated with people displaying or at risk from problem gambling included detachment from surroundings and preoccupation with gambling.”

Click here to view the ruling on the ASA website

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