ASA Judges PlayOJO’s “Hot or Cold Ads” Are Misleading

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) in the United Kingdom has forced Skill on Net’s subsidiary PlayOJO to take down a misleading marketing campaign.

PlayOJO’s Ads Sparked Controversy

The campaign in question promotes PlayOJO’s brand new “Hot or Cold” feature – a solution that allows fans to check which games have been played the most and which ones have yielded their players the highest rewards. However, PlayOJO’s marketing material goes a little bit further than that and claims that this feature shows which games are the most and least profitable – a notion that is misleading, according to the ASA.

Filed complaints stated that the adverts wrongly imply that the Hot or Cold feature shows which titles have the best chance of making their players rich. Although PlayOJO’s adverts do say that a player may opt to play a “cold” game and turn it into a “hot” one, it was said that the majority of people would interpret the campaign in a way that prompts them to play the “hot” games, hoping that this will land them a win.

The authority pointed out that this misleading message has been spread on TV, as well as through Internet ads and blogs. Several variants of a TV ad have implied that the Hot or Cold feature allows players to “choose their destiny.” The ASA said that complaints claim the misleading ads urge fans to play irresponsibly with empty promises of guaranteed success.

The Regulator Said the Adverts Must Be Taken Down

Skill on Net, PlayOJO’s parent company argued that it never intended to send out the wrong message. The company said that it thought its statement that a player can make a cold game into a hot one should reinforce that gambling is all about luck and that the Hot or Cold feature does nothing more than to show statistics about players’ experiences.

The ASA investigated the case but concluded that not all of PlayOJO’s adverts clearly stated that the Hot or Cold feature does not influence luck. Because of this, the regulator concluded that the ads must not appear again under the same form as they may cause irresponsible gambling and financial harm.

An additional complaint added that the adverts, which featured Tarot cards, exploited cultural traditions to promote their message. The ASA investigated this matter as well but found no breach of the BCAP Code because the ads did not seek to appeal to Tarot believers in particular.

As the gambling industry struggles to prevent gambling harm, it is increasingly important to moderate advertisements. The French regulator recently took down an ad that claimed gambling can turn a person’s life around and make them rich.

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