The UK Advertising Standards Authority recently took GVC to task over a Gala Spins ad published on Facebook in August 2020 that features the five toy characters from the’ Fluffy Favourites online pokie by Gala Spins.
The ad displayed the captions “It’s a Rollercoaster of Cuteness”, and “What’s your spin?”, accompanying video clips of the pokie gameplay. The ASA ruled that the featured text and images are extremely likely to appeal to children as well as appropriately aged players.
At the time of writing, GVC has removed the advert has from social media.
Gala Spins responded to the ruling, stating that they uploaded the video by mistake and that it was already out of date when posted. Gala went on to explain that the mistake could have occurred because the original Fluffy Favourites ad was part of a broader campaign directed at female online gaming fans within the age category of 18 – 65.
GVC furnished the authority with proof supporting its refutations, showing that the content of the ad had not been viewed by anyone under 18, stating that the campaign was intended to only be targeted at adult social media audiences.
GVC in the dog house
The ASA responded to GVC, explaining that, aside from the content being displayed to an audience accountable for self-reporting of their age, there were no other measures in place to guarantee compliance with to the relevant age-specific guidelines published early in 2019 by the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP). Last year we published a story about how anti-gambling advocates reached out to the New Zealand public and authorities, urging them to consider a total ban on betting advertising of any kind.
The ASA explained that the content featured in the Fluffy Favourites section of the campaign is typical of content usually employed to appeal to under-age persons and children. The watchdog reiterated its ruling that GVC and Gala Spins had acted in a socially irresponsible manner, as per the provisions of Section 16.1 of the CAP code of good advertising practice.
In the end, the ASA opted against handing down a fine or any other form of severe penalty, but it did caution Gala Spins against any future posting of pokies ads that display content that under-age persons would find appealing.