Coral advert banned for encouraging repetitive gambling

The advert was deemed to have broken the advertising code that states brands must not "encourage gambling behaviour that is socially irresponsible".

horse racing

UK Advertising watchdog ASA has banned a “potentially harmful” social media advert by betting firm Coral, which promoted repetitive gambling.

The advert involved a tweet posted on Coral’s Twitter profile in March 2020, which highlighted an offer called ‘Fail to Finish’. The tweet linked to a commercial video that showed a jockey falling off his horse, captioned: “Have another go”. 

The advert also depicted a customer who had bet on the horse initially seeming to be disappointed before looking at his phone and smiling.

The ‘Fail to Finish promotion allowed the consumer to receive money back as a free bet in the event their selected horse failing to finish the race.

The voice-over in the advert said: “Strong, relentless, riderless, get a free bet back with fail to finish.” A similar version of the advert also appeared on TV. 

The person who lodged a complaint with ASA believed that the advert encouraged repetitive gambling and suggested that betting is not a choice to be taken lightly. ASA agreed with the complainant and stated that the advert could have been financially and socially harmful. The watchdog decided that the advert must not appear in its current form and warned Coral not to advertise its promotions in ways that are likely to encourage repetitive gambling. 

The advert was said to have breached rule 16.3.1 of the Non-broadcast Advertising and Direct & Promotional Marketing code. This states that marketing communication must not “portray, condone or encourage gambling behaviour that is socially irresponsible or could lead to financial, social or emotional harm”.  

LC international, which operates the Coral brand, responded that the promotion does not require the consumer to use additional funds, nor does it oblige them to bet again. Instead, the firm stated that it merely offered a form of insurance in the event a horse failing to finish a race. 

The gambling company stated that the tweet was meant to “highlight the prize of the promotion while keeping within a certain character count and without encouraging socially irresponsible behaviour”.

The company later admitted that the language used in the tweet was probably inappropriate, but that this was due to the limited word count allowed by Twitter.

LC international claimed the advert should not have been banned as the sentence “have another go” only appears in the tweet. The advert, the company claimed, was within the rules as it also features the GambleAware website and the age restriction, as well as a banner stating “when the fun stops, stop”. 

ASA had recently received and rejected a complaint about a Ladbrokes television advert on February 29. It showed people in scenarios that recall casino games: a man filling his car with petrol stops the price at £77.77, while another says “hit me” to ask for more fillings in his sandwich. 

Five viewers complained about the advert. They claimed that it had a dangerous subtext as it seemed to suggest that gambling was taking priority in people’s lives.

ASA rejected the complaints and stated that the advert was showing “nothing more than humorous reminders of the mechanics and routines of gambling and gaming.”

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