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The ASA Removes a Ladbrokes Advertising Campaign

by Hillary LaClair, Senior Editor
January 7, 2009

                Despite the recent alterations in the UK Advertising Standards Authority’s regulations, online casino operators continue to struggle in releasing appropriate adverts. The ASA has banned a Ladbrokes television advertising campaign because it allegedly links online casino gambling with “excessive risk taking.”

                Two adverts came into question, as they display esteemed online casino gamers Willem Snyman and J “snake eyes” Kowalski reminiscing over dubious adventures as younger men. The first advertisement shows a young man diving with sharks with raw meat sewn to his adorned seal-like wet suit, while the other features a man sky diving with a parachute constructed of a potato chip package.

                At the end of each commercial, viewers are prompted with the quip, “If only he’d seen, his thrill buds would have been quenched.”  The ASA felt that these adverts “portrayed gambling in a context of toughness,” or that it painted online gambling as an excessive risk.

                Ladbrokes feels to the contrary, however, stating that the asinine nature of the advertisements set off any impression that the danger of gambling is appealing. “Ladbrokes fully supports the code of practice relating to gambling advertising but this ruling is an example of political correctness going too far,” said John O’Reilly, managing director at Ladbrokes. “The idea that an advertisement using absurd humor is somehow going to make gambling dangerously appealing is nonsense.”

                The online casino has responded to the banning of their ad campaign, with a full page print in The Sun newspaper. The advertisement, directed at the ASA, depicts a photoID kit and the headline, “Missing: A Funny Bone.”