ASA bans Ladbrokes football advert for "displaying problem gambling"

After receiving a complaint about an advert depicting those addicted to gambling, and gambling behaviour seen as “socially irresponsible”, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned Entain’s Ladbrokes TV advert. 

The advert was seen on 10 April 2021 and began with a voiceover that said: “I’m a nodder: up to the football, down to the app like a dog on a dashboard.” 

The rest of the advert showed a man frustrated while betting and a group sitting nervously as they waited to see whether they had placed a winning bet or not.  

And UK advertising watchdog, the ASA, has upheld a complaint that accused the advert of promoting problem gambling. 

In its ruling, the ASA said: “The CAP Code states ads must not portray, condone or encourage gambling behaviour that was socially irresponsible or could lead to financial, social or emotional harm.” 

The CAP code states those that display “problem gambling behaviours or other behavioural indicators linked to problem gambling” were likely breaching the code.  

Ladbrokes responded that its advert was just portraying the feelings experienced in football matches, and that the scenes showed people watching football and reacting “in the way a football fan might."  

However, the ASA felt the scenes combined with the voiceovers were showing individuals that were “engrossed in betting.”  

It acknowledged the advert was meant to take a light-hearted approach but, overall, believes it showed people that were “detached” from their surroundings – focused on betting rather than watching sports.  

The regulator added: “Marketers should take care to avoid an implication of such behaviours; for instance, with outwardly light-hearted or humorous approaches that could be regarded as portrayals of those behaviours.” 


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