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App Adverts Under Scrutiny By ASA


24 Sep 2018

If you’ve got a mobile phone then the chances are you will have downloaded and played at least one app.

Often, unless you pay to have ads removed from the app, you might find that you’ll see an advert for a gambling product in amongst those for other products.

It is these that have recently been under scrutiny by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and both William Hill Vegas and Bell Fruit Casino have had complaints upheld for their in-app advertising.

Bell Fruit Casino ASA Complaint

For the Bell Fruit Casino in-app advert the issue that led to the complaint was that it appeared during the Dude Perfect 2 app on 21st February 2018.

The complainant’s seven-year-old son viewed the ad which showed text that read ‘Bell Fruit Casino App FREE. Play Slots for Real Cash. Welcome Bonus up to £200’ with GET and PLAY NOW buttons.

The father complained that the ad was inappropriately targeted.

Despite Dude Perfect being an app where Minicip SA (the publishers) considered their popular age demographic to be 35 to 54 on iOS and 25 to 34 on Android, the ASA still felt that the ad breached the two CAP Codes listed later in the article; 16.1 and 16.3.13.

The ASA found that 2.5% of users of the app were aged between 13 and 17 – 2.5% too many clearly.

There is more to the ruling of course, and it can be read in its entirety here.

William Hill Vegas ASA Complaint

For William Hill Vegas, things were a bit more cut and dried because their advert appeared in the New MarioKart 8 Trick – a game that has a PEGI rating of 3!

This rating means that it is suitable for all audiences and whilst Nintendo reported in 2017 that 86% of Nintendo Switch players were over the age of 18 – this isn’t applicable to the apps.

Like Bell Fruit Casino, the response from William Hill referenced the Universal App Campaign from Google and the expectation / options that this made available to them.

The full ruling can be read here and is far more explanatory.

William Hill Vegas breached just the second of the two CAP codes listed below.

CAP 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.

CAP 16.3.13
be directed at those aged below 18 years (or 16 years for football pools, equal-chance gaming [under a prize gaming permit or at a licensed family entertainment centre], prize gaming [at a non-licensed family entertainment centre or at a travelling fair] or Category D gaming machines) through the selection of media or context in which they appear