ASA Scolds Casino Operator for Using Fairy tale Images in Gambling Ad

The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) has been forced to step in after complaints were filed against m88.com and three of its fairy tale themed games.

Fairytale Legends Red Riding Hood.

Images from NetEnt’s Fairytale Legends Red Riding Hood have landed m88.com in trouble with the ASA. (Image: YouTube/NetEnt)

Following a complaint by the Fairer Gambling campaign, the ASA investigated a series of promotions that could have been of interest to children. Reviewing the material released on January 25, the advertising watchdog agreed that the content was likely to appeal to minors.

Fairy tale Theme Causes Complaints

At the heart of the matter was an online advert promoting Fairy tale Legends Red Riding Hood, Fairy tale Legends Hansel and Gretel and Fairies Forest. Although the games themselves weren’t deemed illegal, m88.com’s promotion of them on a public part of its site meant they could have been seen people under the age of 18.

In response to the complaints, the company said that it didn’t believe the images of fairies and fairy tale characters was appealing to children. However, in a bid to comply with UK gambling laws, the operator has since removed the adverts and made it so the game can only be played inside the members section of the site.

Although m88.com received a warning from the ASA, it maintains that the games were created by a third-party provider. While responsibility for hosting and promoting games based on popular stories lies with casino operators, the developers don’t appear to be under the same scrutiny when it comes to these issues.

However, as the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) pushes for greater social responsibility and protection for vulnerable individuals, the creation of games could be reviewed. Indeed, in its “Strategy 2018-2021” report, the regulator stressed that making the industry better for everyone was its main objective.

“To do this we need to balance consumer choice and enjoyment against the risks gambling can create and its impact on wider society,” reads the UKGC report.

Developers Could Be Put Under the Spotlight

In the last 12 months, both the ASA and UKGC have been hot on tackling misleading or ambiguous gambling adverts. BGO was fined £300,000 in May 2017 for failing to outline its bonus policies, while Lottoland had to pay £150,000 for not explaining how its lottery betting service worked.

With operators now taking more care with the way they advertise their products and services, attention could soon turn to software providers such as NetEnt and Playtech. Unlike onsite promotions, most casino games are created by a third-party provider.

Because of this, casino operators don’t have any control over the theme or in-game content. While they can choose not to host the games, those that do run the risk of breaking the law if the material is potentially harmful for those deemed as “vulnerable.”

If incidents such as the one involving m88.com become common, developers could see the UKGC set new rules against the type of content that can and can’t be featured in their products.

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