On 17 October 2018, the Advertising Standards Authority ("ASA") published two rulings in relation to ads for 32Red Ltd t/a 32red.com ("32Red") and LeoVegas Gaming plc t/a 21.co.uk ("LeoVegas").

In both cases, the ASA found that the ads did not breach the UK Code of Broadcast Advertising (the "BCAP Code").

Both rulings are discussed in detail, below.

The rulings

32Red

The complainant alleged that 32Red's TV ad which featured the voices of Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly talking about 'Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway', with the theme tune of the show playing in the background, breached BCAP Code rule 17.4.5, which states that advertisements for gambling must not be likely to be of particular appeal to under-18s, especially by reflecting or being associated with youth culture.

It was argued that the ad was irresponsible because it linked gambling with the programme, which was likely to specifically appeal to under-18s.

The ASA ruled that the ad was unlikely to be of particular appeal to under-18s as viewing figures showed that whilst the show was watched by many under-18s, it was never of proportionately greater appeal to under-18s than it was to the viewing population as a whole.

It was held that generic references to the programme were unlikely to appeal more strongly to under-18s than over-18s. Therefore, the ad was found not to be in breach.

The full ruling can be found here.

LeoVegas

The complainant alleged that a LeoVegas ad, which featured a voiceover stating "His heart is pounding. His body is still…Emotion versus reason. He makes his move" portrayed gambling in a context of toughness. It was argued that the ad breached BCAP Code rule 17.3.8, which states that advertisements must not portray gambling in a context of toughness or link it to resilience or recklessness.

LeoVegas had previously had an ASA ruling upheld in relation to the same ad, and had made appropriate changes to the ad to address those concerns.

The ASA ruled that the revised ad conveyed excitement, as opposed to toughness, which was a reasonable reaction to gambling when playing responsibly. Further, as there was no indication as to the amount that the man was betting, the ad did not suggest he was taking a major risk. Consequently it was held that the ad was not in breach.

The full ruling can be found here.

Key takeaways

These cases serve as useful guidance on what the ASA will regard as breaches of the BCAP Code, and the types of measures advertisers can take to ensure they do not fall foul of the rules.