The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) has clamped down on three separate advertisements this week after finding that Monopoly Casino, Paddy Power and William Hill had all breached advertising guidelines.

The banner advertisement for Monopoly Casino, shown on 7 February on the Mirror Online website, displayed an image of ‘Mr Monopoly’ alongside the text “Monopoly Casino”, “SUPER MONOPOLY MONEY” and “PLAY NOW”.

The advertisement was challenged by one complainant who raised the issue over whether the character in the advertisement could appeal to children.

Entertaining play, who were responsible for the Monopoly Casino ad, outlined that the character was not intended to mimic any cartoon characteristics shown in current children’s programming, nor were the colours used vibrant suggesting that no inspiration has been drawn from youth culture.

The Mirror Online also responded to the complaint by highlighting that age targeting could be applied to the ad so that it was not targeted at children, pointing out that the ad had appeal to children and they said that the ad included a label which stated “18+”.

The ASA, however, ruled that the ad has breached the CAP Code, and therefore deemed the ad  must not appear again in the form complained about.

Meanwhile Paddy Power has been reprimanded for a recent advert featuring Rhodri Giggs. The ad in question, shown in February 2017, shows Giggs speaking to camera, saying he had “always lived a loyal life” by drinking in the same pub, going to the same gym, etc.

Then shown in a pub, a woman behind the bar asked, “Bitter?” He replied, “Not anymore, Pam, Champagne please.” He then said, “Problem is, loyalty gets you nowhere. Live for rewards instead. That’s why I’m Paddy’s Rewards Club Ambassador.” He was then shown driving off in a sports car saying “Thanks Paddy” as he patted the bodywork.

Alongside the advertisement, on-screen text stated “Qualify for weekly free bets for online Sports, online Games and in our shops with Paddy’s Rewards Club. Full T&Cs at [website address]”.

The advertisement received five individual complaints, challenging whether the ad was glamourising gambling by suggesting that it could be a means of achieving a higher standard of living.

Paddy Power explained that the advert in question was more about loyalty rather than gambling, explaining that Rhodri had been appointed as a brand ambassador for Paddy Power. When Rhodri explained he had been given that role, he tapped the side of the car he was sitting in and said, “Thanks Paddy”. That was intended to indicate that he had received the car due to his role as a brand ambassador.

The ASA ruled that the ad was to be upheld on the basis that it implied viewers should follow Giggs’ example, and that thus implied customers must join Paddy Power’s Rewards Club. 

It detailed: “For that reason, we considered the ad implied gambling was a way to achieve financial security and improved self-image, and we concluded the ad was irresponsible.

“The ad must not appear again in the form complained of. We told Power Leisure Bookmakers Ltd t/a Paddy Power to ensure in future that they did not state or imply that gambling was a way to achieve financial security or improve self-image or self-esteem.”

William Hill was also sanctioned by the regulator for featuring two football players in its advert who were both under the age of 25.

The ad in question was described as: “A tweet from Tottenham Hotspur’s Twitter page, seen on 5 March 2019, featured an image of the team’s starting line-up against Borussia Dortmund, including players Harry Winks and Davinson Sanchez. The image featured the William Hill logo and accompanying text stated “Latest odds from @WilliamHill” and provided a link to William Hill’s website.”

The CAP code has emphasised that “no one who is, or seemed to be, under 25 years old may be featured playing a significant role in marketing communications”.

The ASA pointed out that “the ad featured images of the 11 players who had been selected in Tottenham Hotspur’s starting eleven for their match, including Harry Winks and Davinson Sanchez, both of whom were under the age of 25.

“We understood the intention of the tweet was to inform the audience of the starting line-up. However, we considered that of equal measure was its aim to offer the audience an opportunity to place a bet on the match.”

The advert was subsequently taken down, and the bookmaker warned