Is the gambling industry routinely breaking advertising rules? You bet. – Andrew Penman

In what is becoming a running theme, a string of bookies have been slated by advertising watchdogs.

This week, betting firms made up half of all complaints upheld by the Advertising Standards Authority.

Television adverts by BGO Entertainment featured Austin Powers actor Verne Troyer rapping “my winning makes me so rich”. Around him were the trappings of wealth – a huge swimming pool, mansion, Ferrari, jet, and bodyguard.

The ASA banned the advert, ruling that it “suggested that gambling could be a way to achieve financial security”.

“The ad suggested that, if they were up to the challenge and succeeded, viewers could live the extravagant lifestyle portrayed in the ad,” it ruled.

“We considered that the overall impression of the ad was that the man’s wealth was derived from his gambling wins, which viewers could also achieve.”

BGO, based off-shore in Alderney, had insisted that the adverts made plain that Troyer’s character was the owner of a casino, not a gambling customer whose wealth game from betting.

Coral Interactive (Gibraltar) Limited was also criticised this week for misleading plugs for an enhanced-odds offer that stated “Get it while it lasts”, falsely implying that there were a limited number of the deals.

Finally this week there’s TitanBet, a trading name of PT Entertainment Services Ltd, whose adverts for a “risk-free bet” were ruled misleading because they did not make clear that the bet had to be settled within four days.

Ladbrokes, William Hill, BetStars, TripleBet trading as Matchbook, Coral Interactive (again) and Cosmo Gaming Company trading as NetBet have also had adverts condemned by the watchdog in recent weeks.

Coincidence, or is this an industry out of control?

A spokesman for the ASA said: “We have strict gambling advertising rules in place to protect consumers, in particular young and vulnerable people. As we’ve done in these recent cases, we will take firm action where the rules are broken.

“We’re monitoring the situation. The betting and gaming sector should be under no illusion that if there is evidence of a sector-wide problem or trend, we will not hesitate to intervene.”


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