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Melanie Porter January 10, 2024 4 min read
ASA Censors Danish Bingo Operator’s Ad for BCAP Code Breach
The Advertising Standards Authority has reprimanded and censored a Denmark-based operator’s bingo ad for using the image of an individual who appeared to be under 25
The UK’s independent regulator of advertising across all media, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), has censored Happytiger ApS’ ad for allegedly using an individual under the age of 25 for marketing purposes.
Under the BCAP Code rules, gambling ads are forbidden from featuring individuals who are or appear to be under the age of 25 years gambling or playing a significant role in gambling marketing campaigns.
ASA Received One Complaint About the Ad
The operator, which is licensed and regulated in Great Britain by the Gambling Commission, was reprimanded by the ASA for making use of an individual who appeared to be under 25 for the bingo TV ad that was broadcast in October and November 2023.
The ad showcased his testimony in which he conveyed the following: “The most fun game on Happy Tiger for me has to be the bingo games. Just because of the bingo flash feature, like it’s exciting, obviously, trying to get one line, two lines, three lines, but when the Bingo flash appears, and you see that £2,500 it’s like, yeah I wanna [sic] get that. So yeah, it’s really fun because you’re more involved with it, but it’s not overly complicated or anything like that.”
The man was described as a “POSTGRADUATE STUDENT” in the on-screen text. The single complaint that was filed against the operator challenged whether the ad had in fact breached the Code’s requirements since it featured a person who seemed to be, or who was, under 25 years of age, or if this was not the case.
Proof of Date of Birth, Verified
Happytiger ApS openly provided the individual’s proof of date of birth, confirming that he was in fact 25 years old at the time when the TV ad was shot.
The operator also expressed the opinion that the featured individual did not showcase any features that would make him seem younger than he was. Happytiger ApS also argued that the on-screen text presenting him as a “postgraduate student” was not likely to suggest that he was under the age of 25.
Clearcast, the non-governmental organization whose role is to pre-approve the majority of ads in British television, also confirmed the verification of the featured individual’s age before they approved the ad.
The organization acknowledged the fact that the on-screen text could have hinted to viewers that he was under 25 since he was still in education.
Nonetheless, since ASA only received one complaint against the bingo ad, they did not consider it to be a type of widespread interpretation, expressing confidence that most viewers would understand that the person was 25 years old.
While the ASA did acknowledge the fact that the individual who appeared in the ad was 25 years old when the ad was filmed, they ruled that his “youthful appearance” and the fact that he seemed to be self-conscious while frequently making use of specific filler words including “like”, “obviously”, and “so yeah” were reasons for viewers to be under the impression that he was under 25.
The “postgraduate student” text was also used as a similar argument. The ASA ruled that, while UK students usually begin their bachelor’s degrees between the ages of 17 and 19 and complete them in three to four years, the ad’s text left viewers under the impression that the featured individual was, in fact, in his early twenties.
Since the bingo ad breached BCAP Code rule 17.4.6 (Gambling), the ASA ruled it would no longer be broadcast in its current form while asking the operator to not feature anyone who was or appeared to be under 25 years old.
At the end of December, the ASA upheld a ruling against Betfred over its choice for ad placement.
In September, the same regulator ruled that People’s Postcode Lottery’s ad breached regulations.