Online gaming operator 21.co.uk just recently saw a thirty-second advertisement banned by the UK Advertising Standards Authority after an investigation by the watchdog concluded that the ad was in violation of set rules. The ASA stated that the ad over-emphasized strategy influence in blackjack gaming.
In March of this year, the advertisement was released by the online gaming site featuring a blackjack player in a tuxedo ruminating a wager. A voiceover comes on stating that the player’s heart is pounding and his body is still. He shuffles his chips and thinks, weighing his heart vs his head. He makes his move and creates his own luck.
The ASA believes the ad is in violation for two reasons. First, the ad states that the player ‘makes his own luck’, so they feel this implies that gambling involves skill instead of chance, which makes the ad socially irresponsible. The second reason is that the ASA feels the ad portrays the gambling industry in a context of toughness.
21.co.uk argues that the game of blackjack is a strategic game and that the make your own luck wording is a common expression that references the positive impact of practice to the success of the player. The ASA still upheld their ruling that the advertisement was irresponsible.
The ASA also acknowledged that the man does not display overt attributes symbolizing physical toughness they do continue to maintain their second challenge to the ad as they feel the player will be viewed by consumers as displaying signs of mental toughness by taking a risk and betting all of his chips at one time.
A complaint was filed by a consumer against the ad stating that the United Kingdom advertisement referenced a psychological thrill that is experienced by gambling addicts by depicting the dilation of the player’s pupils. The ASA did not uphold this complaint stating the player demeanor was calm and his behavior did not seem compulsive.
The ASA has stated that the advertisement cannot appear again in its current state. The online gaming site has now been advised to avoid over-emphasizing strategy in future ads.