ASA upholds Foxy Games complaint but dismisses Betfair Casino issue

The Advertising Standards Authority has upheld one complaint against Foxy Games and dismissed another levelled at Betfair Casino in its latest round of judgements.

The former relates to a paid-for Google search ad for Foxy Games, seen on July 11, 2020, which was displayed when the search term ‘make money online’ was used, and stated ‘Earn Money Online – Foxy Games – Play Online’.

A complaint was subsequently raised which challenged whether the ad was irresponsible by suggesting consumers could achieve financial security by playing the advertised slots and bingo games.

After Foxy Games said that the ad appeared as a result of human error and explained that they had taken action to remove it, the ASA explained: “The CAP Code stated that advertisers must not suggest that gambling can be a solution to financial concerns, an alternative to employment or a way to achieve financial security. 

“We considered the claim ‘Earn Money Online’ suggested to consumers that the gambling system offered by the advertiser could be used to ‘earn’ money and therefore attain a regular source of income. We considered this had the effect of suggesting that gambling could be a way to achieve financial security.”

Concluding that the ad was irresponsible, the firm was informed that it must not appear again in the form complained of, as well as being told to ensure that their ads did not suggest that gambling was a way to achieve financial security.

Furthermore, one individual raised an issue with a TV ad for Betfair Casino, seen in July 2020, which showed a man rushing to board his plane in an airport while another man was sitting down drinking coffee in a relaxed manner and looking at his phone screen, which showed the Betfair Casino app.

The complainant believed that the ad portrayed gambling as taking priority in life by showing someone gambling in a time-pressured situation after the final boarding call for his flight, and challenged whether the ad was irresponsible.

Responding, Betfair Casino said that great care had been taken when creating the ad to ensure that it complied with the requirements of the BCAP Code and the ad had been approved by Clearcast.

Moreover, the company said that several components of the advert, such as the voiceover describing “4 minutes and 53 seconds” and the short time between final call and the gate closing, suggest that the man was only intending to have a quick game.

It was added that the man showed his phone to the flight attendant, which was intended to demonstrate that he was not embarrassed by his leisure activity or trying to keep his gambling a secret.

“The ASA considered that although the man was momentarily occupied with gambling, he was not distracted because he heard the ‘final call’ and appeared to have made his flight on time in a calm and collected manner without needing to rush. By contrast, others around him were rushing to board their flights,” the ASA said in its assessment.

Adding: “We did not consider that the ad gave the impression that people should gamble in situations where they were genuinely at risk of being distracted from an important task. We therefore concluded that the ad did not portray, condone or encourage gambling behaviour that was socially irresponsible, or portray gambling as indispensable or as taking priority in life.”

It was deemed that no further action was necessary.