What a slot of responsibility! Gambling ads and the CAP Code

The Ad Codes require that gambling ads must be socially responsible and not portray, condone or encourage gambling behaviour that could lead to financial, social or emotional harm. But what does that mean in practice, and what kind of bad betting behaviours are likely to put the odds against your ads being viewed favourably by the ASA?

Fortunately, the Ad Rules go into further detail about this. So if you’re wagering on creating content to promote a gambling product or service, it’s worth bearing the following in mind.

Not an escape

Ads that suggest gambling can provide an escape from personal or professional problems, such as loneliness or depression, can leave you down on your luck. An ad for ‘Rehab Bingo’ was banned by the ASA after it considered using “rehab” in the context of gambling suggested online bingo was a form of rehab that could be used to alleviate personal problems.

Never a solution

Also avoid rolling the dice by suggesting gambling can be a used as a solution to financial concerns. A Facebook ad for matched betting that claimed ““What would you do with some extra money?... I paid off my credit card” found itself on to a loser, as did an advertorial which described how a punter used a big win as the solution to their debt problems.

Absolutely no pressure

Pressuring people to gamble can lead to a red card, like this ad for football betting that was sent to the stands for asking viewers “Are you a spectator or are you a player? .. Get in on the action.” As the ASA considered this suggested those who gambled were more involved in the game and in doing so disparaged those who were not.

Best of the rest

Ads that suggest gambling takes priority in life or enhances personal qualities are likely to lead to a Stewards’ Enquiry. As are those linking gambling to sexual success or enhanced attractiveness, and linking gambling to resilience or recklessness is a risk you shouldn’t take. You can also bank on the fact that ads that exploit the susceptibilities, or lack of knowledge of the young or vulnerable, and those that condone gambling in a working environment (licensed gambling premises aside) will land you in hot water.

Honourable mentions

While the ASA has never ruled formally on such issues, gambling ads should also not exploit cultural beliefs or traditions about luck; suggest gambling is a rite of passage; that solitary gambling is preferable to social gambling; or condone criminal or anti-social behaviour. Remember, gambling ads may also be considered socially irresponsible outside of the specific provisions of these rules.


For further advice and guidance our full online library is here. Or you can contact our Copy Advice team for further support on your non-broadcast advertising.

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