The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has continued its crackdown on gambling adverts which could appeal to under-18s by sanctioning Kindred Group’s online casino brand, 32Red.
The ASA sanctioned two paid-for Google search ads for the firm, seen on April 25, 2019, which were displayed when the search term ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ was used, with the ruling stating that the ads were likely to be of particular appeal to children through the selection of media or context in which they appeared.
32Red responded to the ruling, stating that the adverts in question acted as part of a group targeted towards google users when corresponding search terms of titles were entered.
It was also stressed that the Jack and the Beanstalk game was classified as high risk, meaning visitors would not be able to view it unless age-verification had taken place but that in this instance it “had been included on their website’s list of slot games in error.”
In its ruling, the ASA explained: ““they said they removed the ads as soon they were brought to their attention and also checked that other high risk games also were not being actively advertised. They had put in place steps to ensure that any such high risk titles did not appear in keyword lists for ad targeting in future.
“Because it was a highly popular classic children’s fairy tale, we considered that there was a strong possibility that this search term would be input by children, or adults who were accompanied by a child.
“We therefore considered that, by targeting ads to search engine users who used that term, 32Red had not specifically and carefully targeted the ad only at those aged 18 or over, and had therefore directed gambling ads to those aged under 18 years of age.”
While the ASA acknowledged that 32Red had quickly removed the adverts, it had ruled that the ads must not appear again in the same form again. The casino operator must ensure that future ads didn’t have an appeal to those under 18 and were not directed at those in the same age bracket.