TV ad breaks during the programme "My Spiral into Debt Hell". The programme focused on a number of people who had suffered from debt problems. One person had accrued a debt of £70,000 from online gambling and had lost their home, family and job as a result. The three ad breaks during the programme and the one after it included ads for either Rush Poker Mobile or Supercasino.com.
Thirteen complainants challenged whether the gambling ads were inappropriately scheduling around a programme which highlighted the problems that online gambling could cause.
Channel 5 Broadcasting Ltd said the programme 'My Spiral into Debt Hell' illustrated how people became indebted and coped with it subsequently. They said the message of the online gambling story was that gambling did not solve financial problems, rather using gambling as a solution to financial problems was likely to lead to further financial difficulty and debt.
Channel 5 said the ad was shown after 21:00 and was aimed at an adult audience with an interest in contemporary issues.
NetPlay TV Group Ltd t/a SuperCasino said they were made aware of the title of the programme only and that existing policies and procedures did not enable them to take an active supervisory approach to broadcasters and how they scheduled ad breaks.
Rational FT Enterprises Ltd t/a Full Tilt Poker said that responsibility for the scheduling of programmes and ads lay solely with the broadcaster. They said they did not request that their ad be scheduled around the programme 'My Spiral into Debt Hell'.
The ASA noted the programme 'My Spiral into Debt Hell' focused on debt problems that resulted from various circumstances and that one section of the programme highlighted the story of an individual who had suffered financially as a result of gambling. The programme content was anecdotal in nature rather than providing practical advice to vulnerable indebted viewers.
We acknowledged that the ads for online gambling were incongruous with the programme content, but considered the scheduling of those ads around the programme was not irresponsible, or an unsuitable juxtaposition that was likely to cause distress or offence to viewers.
On that basis, we concluded that the scheduling of the ads did not breach the Code.
We investigated the ads under BCAP Code rules 1.2 1.2 Advertisements must be prepared with a sense of responsibility to the audience and to society. (Social responsibility), and 32.1 32.1 Broadcasters must exercise responsible judgement on the scheduling of advertisements and operate internal systems capable of identifying and avoiding unsuitable juxtapositions between advertising material and programmes, especially those that could distress or offend viewers or listeners. (Scheduling) but did not find them to be in breach.
No further action necessary.