32Red Casino Ad Banned for Violating ASA Regulations
September 27th, 2019 2.00pm
32Red, an online casino owned by a gambling industry mogul Kindred Group, was recently a center of attention for all the wrong reasons. One of the operator’s ads did not fare well with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), and the organization was quick to react, reprimanding the company and requesting the ad to be immediately removed.
“No Fairy Tale Ending,” Says ASA
If you were to enter “Jack and the Beanstalk” in your search browser, an online casino site would probably be the last thing on your mind. However, those who were browsing the net in April this year using that very same syntax got a lot more than they bargained for. Together with the familiar and innocent fairy tale imagery, Google search results were “usurped” with an ad for 32Red casino bonus featuring Jack and the Beanstalk slot by NetEnt. As a paid ad, it positioned at the very top of the search results, linking directly to the casino’s registration page with a 150% welcome bonus banner.
Apparently, the authorities were not about to let this one slide, and 32Red was soon rebuked for using content that appealed to young and impressionable minds. The incident was brought to ASA’a attention after a complaint of an individual, who stumbled upon the ad after entering the name of the popular fairy tale – Jack and the Beanstalk.
According to ASA, these exact words were what got 32Red in trouble, considering their indisputable potential to reach those under the age of 18.
“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”, stated ASA representatives.
It was not long before 32Red removed the controversial ad, expressing their regrets about the incident. Despite being classified as “high-risk”, which means that age verification is required before accessing the site, the content was still briefly visible on a third-party site.
Stricter Policies as of April 1, 2019
For a lot of online casino operators, the spring of 2019 was a turning point, marking an end of liberal interpretation of the rules. The regulations designed to protect minors were revisited, and 32Red was among the first to pay the price of breaching rules 16.1, 16.3, 16.3.12, and 16.3.13 of the code, which prevents the operators from:
• Employing marketing strategies that are not considered as socially responsible
• Exploiting aspirations and susceptibilities of children
• Using content that appeals to youth culture and is directed at individuals under the age of 18
ASA also confirmed that 32Red was extremely cooperative in acknowledging and promptly resolving the issue, which was to be expected after the last year’s episode when the UK Gambling Commission fined the operator for not taking appropriate action to prevent problem gambling.
The failure to recognize the signs of addiction and put an end to a member’s spending spree cost the operator £2M. It was only after the member wagered a 7-figure amount that the red flag went up and the player’s account was suspended, but not before they communicated with the staff, complaining about “spending too much”
The operator’s failure to determine the source of the member’s wealth (whose average monthly deposit was around £45,000, on a £2,150 income) was regarded as a direct violation of AML (Anti-money laundering) regulations.
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