Gambling ads banned for breaking responsibility rules

The Coral website Credit: Joe Giddens/PA

Adverts for two betting firms have been banned for being socially irresponsible and encouraging potentially harmful behaviour.

A BetIndex video on YouTube, seen on June 12, featured a representative of The Football Index product describing it as “basically the football stock market, where you buy and sell shares in footballers with real money and you can win daily pay-outs which we call dividends”.

A viewer, who believed the ad implied that the product was a reliable source of income and did not make the financial risks clear, complained that it was irresponsible because it was presented as an investment opportunity.

BetIndex said the risks associated with the product were made clear throughout the ad while the rules made clear the potential to incur losses.

However the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said the ad created the impression that the product was an investment opportunity when, in fact, it was a betting product.

It concluded that the ad did not make the associated financial risks clear and was irresponsible.

Separately, a television ad for Coral has been banned for encouraging repetitive participation in gambling.

The ad, seen in June, featured a female voiceover stating: “Free £5 bet every Sunday. When you bet £25+ Monday to Saturday.”

A viewer complained that the offer was irresponsible and potentially harmful for encouraging consumers to gamble each week.

Coral said customers were able to opt-out of the promotion at any time and the ad therefore did not encourage repetitive or frequent betting.

Upholding the complaint, the ASA said: “We considered that the suggestion that viewers should ‘join’ a ‘club’ in order to receive a free £5 bet ‘every’ Sunday was likely to encourage some consumers to take up the offer repetitively.

“For that reason, we concluded that the ad was likely to encourage gambling behaviour that was harmful and therefore breached the Code.”

Claire Murdoch, NHS national director for mental health, said: “It is absolutely right that the authorities take action and clamp down on ads which are found to be wildly irresponsible and appear determined only to encourage harmful, addictive behaviour.

“While the NHS is rolling out new specialist services to tackle mental ill health linked to gambling addiction, as part of our Long Term Plan for the NHS, it is high time that betting giants who reap enormous profits from this misery take their responsibilities seriously too.”