An online casino game that was Monopoly-themed has been banned at the beginning of May by the UK’s advertising regulator, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).
Whilst it has yet to be officially announced that it has been banned by the ASA, it has been said that the regulator has forced the gambling operator responsible to remove it – Casino Market investigates why.
Why was the Monopoly-themed ad banned?
The UK Advertising watchdog made the decision to ban the advert as it stated that it breached its advertisement guidelines. It was found to be too appealing to children, due to the game, Monopoly, being well-known to children. It hopes that the ban will prevent potential gambling harms to those who are underage, and could be tempted to play online casino games.
What did the advertisement feature?
The ad for the monopoly-based online casino game involved a cartoon mascot that was based on the mascot of the Monopoly board game, Rich Uncle Pennybags.
The advert first appeared on the Mirror Online website, and it was then that the ASA became involved about whether or not this ad was appropriate or not, and whether it infringed advertising guidelines in the UK.
The ASA made the decision that the advert and its use of Rich Uncle Pennybags was ultimately appropriate, as it could well appeal to children, which is completely prohibited under its guidelines. As the mascot is easily recognisable to children of all ages, it concerned the advertising watchdog that it could lead the gambling game to become something of interest to children browsing on the internet.
Who created the monopoly-based ad and game?
The Monopoly-based online casino game was originally developed by Entertaining Play, which has its headquarters in Gibraltar, and this company is owned by one of the leading game operators, Gamesys. This gaming operator is behind a number of recognizable gaming studios, including Virgin Games.
What did the developers of the game have to say?
In terms of the response from the gaming operators of the monopoly-based game, they did not agree with ASA’s perspective. The developer said that the cartoon character of Rich Uncle Pennybags that features in the game was extremely unlikely to appeal to children.
Furthermore, the developers stated that the advert itself was also unlikely to appeal to those that were underage due to a number of reasons. One of these included that as the advert did not feature any bright, vivid colours, that it was unlikely to attract the attention of children due to dull colours involved in the ad.
In addition, when it came to the criticism in the ad of the involvement of the Monopoly mascot, Rich Uncle Pennybags, the developers of the game said that it did not have any exaggerated features that would make the game or advert appealing to children. They also argued that the cartoon did not look similar to any other character that currently appears on children programs in the UK.
The game’s developer has also stated that they felt they had done all that they could to ensure that the ad would only be targeted at adults. For example, the website in which the gambling ad first originally appeared on, the Mirror Online had a label that pops on screen which says 18+.
Nevertheless, despite the gaming developer’s arguments, the ASA has still gone ahead with its decision to pull the ad from any online sites with immediate effect, as a result of the ruling it has made.
ASA crackdown on gambling ads targeting children
This recently announced ruling is just one of a number of measures that the ASA has been taking to cut down on potential gambling harms in the UK, such as having stricter regulation over gambling adverts that could end up targeting children.
The ASA recently published a report, where they stated that after an investigation using monitoring technology (and creating fake children’s online profiles too), their results found that over 43 gambling operators on websites had adverts that were freely accessible to children.