More Control Over Bingo Ads in the Works

In the United Kingdom the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has kept a sharp eye on ads by online gaming companies and has found that many of the ads failed to meet the strict standards set by the ASA. The ASA is an independent body that administers the various advertising codes in the UK. The ASA sets the standards for content, scheduling and placement of non-broadcast and broadcast ads. The ASA also investigates complaints from the public. The ASA takes complaints seriously and a couple of years ago an ad for a bingo site was pulled on the basis of just one complaint.

Recently the ASA carried out a survey of 796 ads from gaming companies starting in July 2010. The ASA found that out of the 796 ads 31 failed to meet ASA guidelines. Some ads by bingo sites failed because they suggested that playing online bingo could offer solutions to financial problems. The two gaming sectors that produced ads that failed to meet ASA guidelines were internet bingo and online bookmakers. Several online bingo ads have been banned but there are no figures available showing the licensing jurisdictions of the bingo sites that had ads banned in the UK. The survey showed that the compliance level was down by 2.9% since 2007. The compliance team reviewed ads from the following gaming categories;

Football Pools
Online Gambling: Bingo
Online Gambling: Betting Exchanges
Online Gambling: Bookmakers
Online Gambling: Casinos and Poker
Online Gambling: Gambling Supermarkets

The problem ads came from two online gaming sectors. A majority were print ads offering ‘free bets’ or ‘bonus bets.’ The ads did not disclose the gambling terms and conditions associated with the offers. Some of the ads failed to state when the free and bingo bonus offers ended and one ad featured a player that looked too young. Two magazine ads by bingo sites implied that playing online bingo could be a solution for financial issues. The ASA also said that the ads preyed on vulnerable players.

Things may change this year and the ASA will have even more authority over ads by offshore bingo sites if the new coalition government has its way. According to unnamed government sources the government may require offshore bingo sites doing business in the UK to be licensed in the UK and pay taxes. The move would give the ASA more authority over advertisements by offshore bingo and gaming operators.

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