ASA bans Monopoly themed gambling advert

The Advertising Standards Agency has ruled to ban a gambling advert featuring the Monopoly boardgame’s mascot, Mr Rich Uncle Pennybags, that was featured on the Mirror Online website, as the ad has been deemed potentially appealing to children.

Monopoly board game

The ad featured the Monopoly game’s mascot. © Pixabay.

The ASA ruled this week that the ad has breached its code that states gambling ads must not be designed in such a way that they would be appealing to children.

The ASA has not yet published the ruling, however the news was broken by the Guardian, who stated that the company behind the game being advertised, Entertaining Play, have been told not to feature the ad again.

Responding to the ban, Entertaining Play said that the character was not designed and is not likely to be attractive to children. Responding to the ban, a statement from Entertaining Play said that the character did “not possess exaggerated features and did not mimic any style of cartoon character seen in current children’s programming.”

However, the move was welcomed by the Bishop of St Albans, the Right Rev Dr Alan Smith, who said:

Monopoly is beloved by young people and there was no doubt that a smiling cartoon character which is the logo of this family board game will appeal to children. Board games should be allowed to remain board games and must be off-limits to gambling companies pushing boundaries in order to normalise highly addictive casino games. I hope other companies that stoop to these tactics take note and remove similar adverts. Right Rev Dr Alan Smith, Bishop of St Albans

For its part, the Mirror Online stated that it did not believe the ad would appeal to children and that it included an 18+ logo with the advert. A statement from the Mirror Online said:

We considered that Monopoly was a family game generally played by or with children, and that under-18s would therefore recognise and find the ad’s references to it appealing. In addition, the ad featured a prominent image of the Mr Monopoly character which had exaggerated features reminiscent of a children’s cartoon, which meant the image would also be appealing to under-18s. Taking account of the ad as a whole, we considered that the use of the Monopoly logo and the depiction of the Mr Monopoly character meant that the ad was likely to appeal more to under-18s than to over-18s. Statement, Mirror Online

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