For any operators of affiliates using social media channels such as Facebook or Instagram, compliance with the ASA and gambling guidelines is key. A recent issue with Gala Spins resulted in an ad being removed, despite the use of age-gating. So, we ask – is age-gate tech enough to prevent minors from seeing gambling ads? Read our thoughts below.
Gala Spins complaint
Leading casino operator Gala Spins has recently dealt with a complaint that was upheld by the ASA. The complaint was in response to an ad which had “IT’S A ROLLERCOASTER OF CUTENESS!” as a caption. The ad also featured the Fluffy Favourites slot which is commonly known as a game that features cute toy animals.
The ASA found that the ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 16.1 and 16.3.12. This is due to both the cartoons that were used in the ad and the strength of the appeal of the caption. This was seen to be appealing to children under 18 years old which is against the guidelines set out by the ASA and the UKGC.
They found that the ad was irresponsible and stated that the ad shouldn’t appear again in its current form.
Gala Spins response
While Gala Spins has since removed the ad in line with the request of the ASA, they did initially respond to the complaint with a defence. They argued that the ad on their Facebook account was age-gated so that only those over the age of 18 could view it.
They claimed that this age restriction would have prevented minors from accessing the Gala Spins page. Their ad targeted females in the UK aged between 18-65 years old.
Despite analytical proof that the ad wasn’t seen by anyone aged below 18 years old, the ASA decided that this still wasn’t sufficient.
Is age-gate tech enough?
It is clear from the recent ASA decision on the Gala Spins ad that age-gate tech is not good enough. Many operators may have been relying on specific targeting to reduce the risk of users under 18 seeing their content but this is something that might need to change in the future. Of course, it isn’t just down to the ad itself, it is also about the content included and this clearly broke the ASA guidelines.
In the industry, experts have been considering this issue and what it might mean for future ads or marketing campaigns.
Ian Sims, Owner of Rightlander, said on LinkedIn: “This latest ASA ruling is an interesting one. Seems to validate the line of thought that using Facebook’s age-gating tech is not an acceptable method of blocking underage gamblers from seeing your ads.”
It is expected that others will take note and start to consider new ways of verifying age on their ads or remove them altogether.
What can we do?
It is clear that age-gating Facebook or Instagram ads won’t be accepted as a valid response should an issue arise with the UKGC or ASA. As marketers, we must look for new ways to reach our target audience without breaking the guidelines.
For now, it appears that Facebook ads are still an acceptable method, as long as they don’t breach any of the other rules. It is clear that any ads that have content that could be appealing to children are totally unacceptable.
As the ASA continues to tighten regulations, taking note of complaints and their resolution can be effective in determining what is and what isn’t acceptable.