In the United Kingdom and the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has announced that it has thrown out a complaint brought against the Ladbrokes online gambling and sportsbetting brand of prominent operator Entain.

The regulator used an official press release to detail that the grievance was initiated by a member of the public concerning an advertisement the operator had placed on the Facebook social media platform in March for the five-reel and 20-payline The Goonies video slot. The authority explained that the paid-for marketing featured a fanciful nautical map below a tag-line that invited online gaming aficionados to ‘Play The Goonies Jpk at Ladbrokes. Get 30+ Free Spins on top of your £50’.

Juvenile justification:

The ASA divulged that the complainant had objected to the suspect advertisement because they believed it to be aimed at minors, which would constitute a breach of Ladbrokes’ code of conduct obligations. The watchdog stated that the petitioner had argued that the marketing’s reference to The Goonies, which was a children’s film released in 1985, ‘was likely to be of particular appeal to those under 18 years of age.’

Resolute rebuttal:

The regulator declared that Ladbrokes defended the at-issue advertisement by claiming that the age of The Goonies and that fact that it ‘was not a current or recent film that would be well known to children in 2021’ meant that it was unlikely to appeal to today’s minors. The ASA pronounced that the operator moreover contended that the controversial post ‘had been targeted at males and females aged 18 years old and over’ with the exception of those on its self-exclusion list and has since been removed from its Facebook account, associated campaigns and ad catalog following the initiation of the complaint.

Decisive determination:

After taking all of this evidence into account, the ASA proclaimed that the ad from Ladbrokes was not ‘likely to appeal more to under-18s than over-18s’ despite having been presented in an environment that was not strictly age-gated. The watchdog simultaneously admitted that the marketing’s use of a themes from a 1985 film could have had ‘some appeal’ to minors but found no evidence that such matter ‘was likely to appeal more to under-18s than over-18s.’

Read the decision from the ASA…

“We noted that while the ad featured The Goonies logo and typeface, it did not feature any characters or other imagery from the film. We considered that the nautical map and golden doubloons featured in the ad were not colorful, cartoonish or otherwise presented in a way that was likely to resonate with children and were more likely to have general or adult appeal. We, therefore, concluded that the ad was not of particular appeal to under-18s and had not breached the code.”