A TV ad for Betfair Casino, seen in July 2020, showed a man rushing to board his plane in an airport while another man was sitting down drinking coffee in a relaxed manner and looking at his phone screen, which showed the Betfair Casino app. The voiceover stated, “The average time between the final call and boarding closing is 4 minutes and 53 seconds …” Superimposed text stated “New Betfair customers who have not played Casino or Arcade, UK & Ireland only. Available on selected games. SMS verification if required”.
Further scenes showed people running to catch their flights while the voiceover continued “… an unofficial fact officially brought to you by Betfair Casino. Because when there’s a chance, there’s always a chance.” While people around him continued rushing to board their flights, the man drinking coffee remained calm and got up to board his flight while continuing to play Betfair Casino on his phone. Superimposed text stated “Winnings from free spins paid as cash. Free cash spins expire after 7 days. No deposit required. T&C’s Betfair.com.” The man approached his boarding gate, and showed the flight attendant his phone screen, which stated “MEGA WIN £119.08” on the Betfair Casino app. The voiceover stated, “Make the most of any chance with thirty free spins. Betfair Casino.”, The Betfair Casino logo appeared on screen, followed by the text “WHEN THERE’S A CHANCE, THERE’S ALWAYS A CHANCE”, “NEW CUSTOMER OFFER”, “30 FREE SPINS” and “NO DEPOSIT REQUIRED”.
IssueThe complainant, who believed that the ad portrayed gambling as taking priority in life by showing someone gambling in a time-pressured situation after the final boarding call for his flight, challenged whether the ad was irresponsible.
ResponseBetfair Casino said that great care had been taken when creating the ad to ensure that it complied with the requirements of the BCAP Code and the ad had been approved by Clearcast. They said that the ad was set in an airport and the main character was enjoying a leisurely cup of coffee whilst waiting to board his flight. When the final call for his flight was announced, the man calmly removed his phone from his pocket to open up the Betfair Casino app and appeared to be aware of his surroundings and boarding time. They said that the voiceover describing “4 minutes and 53 seconds” suggested that the man had only intended to have a quick game on Betfair Casino before his flight departed. His relaxed demeanour further suggested that he was travelling during his leisure time and there was therefore no suggestion that gambling was taking priority in his life over other commitments. For example, the man was travelling alone and wasn’t prioritising gambling over spending time with his family or friends. He wasn’t panicked, rushed or anxious and appeared to have made it to his boarding gate on time. Given the short time between ‘final call’ and the gate closing, the viewer would assume that the man had only played Betfair Casino for a couple of minutes and not for an excessive amount of time. The man showed his phone to the flight attendant which demonstrated that he was not embarrassed by his leisure activity or trying to keep his gambling a secret. Betfair Casino said that the line “When there’s a chance …” together with the overall impression created by the ad suggested that gambling was something that people could do when they had a spare moment as a form of leisure or entertainment. They did not believe that the line suggested that people should bet all the time or for an excessive period, or that gambling took priority in life over family, friends or other professional or educational commitments. Clearcast said that the ad was set in an airport and when the ‘final call’ for boarding was made, the main character who appeared to be playing Betfair Casino on his phone, remained relaxed. They said that there was no suggestion in the ad that gambling was taking priority in the man’s life over other commitments nor did it portray gambling in a socially irresponsible way. His casual clothing attire suggested that he was taking a holiday and there was no suggestion that he had held up the flight from departing.
AssessmentNot upheld The BCAP Code stated that marketing communications for gambling must not portray, condone or encourage gambling behaviour that was socially irresponsible or could lead to financial, social or emotional harm. It also stated advertisements must not portray gambling as indispensable or as taking priority in life; for example, over family, friends or professional or educational commitments. The ad presented a man playing Betfair Casino on his phone while waiting to board his flight. The ASA considered that although the man was momentarily occupied with gambling, he was not distracted because he heard the ‘final call’ and appeared to have made his flight on time in a calm and collected manner without needing to rush. By contrast, others around him were rushing to board their flights. He appeared to be aware of the amount of time he needed to make it to his flight and did not panic or exhibit desperation to complete his game before he reached the flight attendant. We considered that this scenario, together with the voiceover statements “The average time between the final call and boarding closing is 4 minutes and 53 seconds …” and “When there’s a chance, there’s always a chance”, implied that gambling could be taken up as a leisurely activity when a spare few minutes were available. We did not consider that the ad gave the impression that people should gamble in situations where they were genuinely at risk of being distracted from an important task. We therefore concluded that the ad did not portray, condone or encourage gambling behaviour that was socially irresponsible, or portray gambling as indispensable or as taking priority in life. We investigated the ad under BCAP Code rules 17.3.1 17.3.1 portray, condone or encourage gambling behaviour that is socially irresponsible or could lead to financial, social or emotional harm and 17.3.4 17.3.4 portray gambling as indispensable or as taking priority in life; for example, over family, friends or professional or educational commitments but did not find it in breach.
No further action necessary.