ASA investigating World Cup gambling ads

The British Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is investigating whether a number of gambling advertisements shown during the summer’s FIFA World Cup breached advertising rules and regulations.

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The ASA has acted after 115 complaints were received about gambling adverts during the 2018 FIFA World Cup. © Pexels.

The probe comes in response to 115 complaints submitted by the British public during the tournament, which ran through June and July. In the previous month, the ASA received just 27 complaints.

The complaints originated mostly from viewers unhappy with the sheer number of gambling advertisements shown during the World Cup and from those who felt the ads were forcefully encouraging viewers to gamble. Viewers were also concerned that due to the earlier broadcast times of many of the matches, children may view – and be susceptible to – the adverts.

While the ASA has accepted this possibility, it is not illegal for operators to advertise before the watershed, as long as they do so during a match or large sporting event.

However, the ASA will investigate whether the rules around gambling not being trivialised in adverts have been broken, along with whether tactics such as live odds being shown was urging viewers to bet. A probe will also be launched into the operators that advertised free bets or bonus offers, which is now illegal thanks to new standards introduced by the Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP) in February this year.

Speaking about the investigation, a spokesman from the ASA said:

Our new guidance introduced earlier this year restricts gambling ads that create an inappropriate sense of urgency, clamps down on ads that encourage repetitive play and provides more detail on vulnerable groups like problem gamblers that marketers need to work to protect. We’re currently assessing several ads that appeared during the World Cup to establish if any further action needs to be taken.Statement, Advertising Standards Authority

The ASA began proceedings back in July, when it announced it would look into complaints received related to gambling adverts during the World Cup. Now, the ASA will determine whether breaches occurred and if further action is necessary.

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