Summary of Council decision:
Two issues were investigated, both of which were Upheld.
The website and a paid-for search ad for the gambling operator, RehabBingo, seen on 28 November 2017:
a. The website www.rehabbingo.co.uk , which featured the brand name on the home page of the website and throughout the website.
b. The paid-for-search ad on Google which appeared when the term “rehabbingo” was searched for and stated “Join Official Rehab Bingo Now”.
The ASA challenged whether the name:
1. “Rehab Bingo” condoned socially irresponsible gambling behaviour that could lead to financial, social or emotional harm; and
2. “Rehab Bingo” suggested that gambling could provide an escape from personal problems.
1. & 2. Broadway Gaming Ltd t/a RehabBingo stated that a percentage of all funds raised from the website went towards funding for the registered charity, the Rehab Group, which provided services such as health and social care, training, employment and rehabilitation for adults, children, those with disabilities and socially disadvantaged individuals. They said rehabbingo.com was launched by the Rehab Group in 2005 to fundraise for activities such as research, advocacy, governance and administration as well as for projects for its day, residential and respite services for people with disabilities. They stated that they were willing to change the name on request.
1. & 2. Upheld
The CAP Code required that ads most not condone or encourage gambling behaviour that was socially irresponsible or could lead to financial social or emotional harm.
We acknowledged that Rehab Bingo was launched by the Rehab Group Charity to fundraise for their activities. However, we considered that, in relation to both ads (a) and (b), using the term “rehab” in the context of gambling, where players were susceptible to addiction which could cause social, emotional and financial harm, was socially irresponsible.
We noted that the CAP Code required that ads must not suggest that gambling could provide an escape from personal problems such as loneliness or depression or that it could be a solution to financial concerns.
We understood that the term “rehab” was linked with the treatment and care given to help an individual suffering from physical or mental illnesses. We noted that the website name in ad (a) and the search result seen in ad (b) used the term “rehabbingo”, which we considered suggested that online bingo was a form of rehab that could be used to alleviate personal problems. We therefore concluded that for those reasons, ads (a) and (b) were in breach of the Code.
The ads breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 16.1 16.1 Marketing communications for gambling must be socially responsible, with particular regard to the need to protect children, young persons and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited. 16.3.1 16.3.1 portray, condone or encourage gambling behaviour that is socially irresponsible or could lead to financial, social or emotional harm and 16.3.3 16.3.3 suggest that gambling can provide an escape from personal, professional or educational problems such as loneliness or depression (Gambling).
The ads must not appear in their current form. We told Broadway Gaming not to use the term “Rehab” in the context of gambling.