Ad description

A paid-for Facebook ad for gaming website, seen on 23 December 2023, featured text stating “[Santa emoji] Deposit £20 and get 75 Free Spins [Present emoji]”. An image below the text featured a cartoon Santa driving a snow plough underneath the “BIG BASS Christmas BASH” game logo.

A second image featured the same Santa driving a vehicle next to an elf holding a colourful Bazooka.


The complainant, who believed the cartoon imagery of Santa and the elf was likely to appeal strongly to children, challenged whether the ad beached the Code.


Lindar Media Ltd t/a said that whist the imagery in the ad may be deemed as ”likely to appeal strongly to children”, they specifically targeted the ad at people aged over 25 years, and did not believe that anyone under 25 had seen the ad. believed that having applied the Facebook targeting so that the ad had been kept away from children and young people, they had acted in a socially responsible way. referred to the CAP guidance on “Gambling and lotteries: Protecting under-18s”, specifically that ads targeted in such a way as to effectively remove under-18s from the audience could feature content that would otherwise be prohibited. They had also considered guidance from the IGRG (Industry Group for Responsible Gambling) Industry Code for Socially Responsible Advertising. They said they had now amended their Facebook marketing approach, in particular to have regard to whether the imagery in their ads was likely to have strong appeal to children. confirmed that the ad had been withdrawn.

Facebook did not have any comments in relation to the complaint.



The CAP Code stated that gambling ads must not be likely to be of strong appeal to children or young persons, especially by reflecting or being associated with youth culture. They must not include a person or character whose example was likely to be followed by those aged under 18 years or who had strong appeal to those aged under-18.

The ASA considered that Christmas and the traditions surrounding it were likely to have strong appeal to children. Furthermore, the CAP guidance on “Gambling and lotteries: Protecting under-18s” stated Santa Clause was considered high risk in terms of how likely the character was to be of strong appeal to under-18s. We considered that, in a similar vein, children were likely also to find the Christmas elf character appealing. The characters were depicted as colourful cartoons, which, we considered, added to the likelihood of the imagery appealing to children. For those reasons, we considered the ad was likely to be of strong appeal to children. We considered that it would have been acceptable for the ad to appear in a medium where under-18s, for all intents and purposes, could be entirely excluded from the audience. That would apply in circumstances where those who saw the ad had been robustly age-verified as being 18 or older, such as through marketing lists that had been validated by payment data or credit checking. However, because Facebook was a media environment where users self-verified on customer sign-up and did not use robust age-verification, we considered had not excluded under-18s from the audience with the highest level of accuracy required for gambling ads where their content was likely to appeal strongly to under-18s.

We acknowledged the steps had taken in response to the complaint but, for the reasons stated above, we nevertheless concluded that the ad was irresponsible and breached the Code.

The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 16.1 and 16.3.12 (Gambling).


The ad must not appear again in the form complained of. We told Lindar Media Ltd t/a not to include themes or imagery that were likely to have strong appeal to those under 18 years of age in their ads in future.

CAP Code (Edition 12)

16.1     16.3.12    

More on