ThePool.com claims ad ban ‘confuses’ gambling issue

Controversial betting website ThePool.com has attacked the latest ruling from the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) over its recent ad campaign, claiming it will confuse consumers.

The ASA has upheld complaints about the website’s advertising; a raunchy leaflet and press ad campaign that used scantily clad women and sexual innuendo to promote pool betting to 16- and 17-year-olds. It has now ruled that these ads were “socially irresponsible” for targeting that age group.

As exclusively revealed in Marketing Week, the campaign sparked a major row when it was launched at the end of last month (MW March 30). Concerns about the ads led to culture secretary Tessa Jowell asking the ASA to take action.

The website retaliated by asking the Government to clarify its position on the gambling among 16- and 17-year-olds (MW last week). Now ThePool.com says the ASA’s decision – which states the use of the “not under 15” logo and text stating “players must be 16 or over” encourages 16- and 17-year-olds to gamble – is at odds with the law, which requires gambling companies make it clear that under-16s cannot bet.

ThePool.com communications director Andrew Lawford says that the National Lottery, the Tote and Zetters all use the same logo and text without drawing complaint and that the ASA ruling will confuse consumers.

ThePool.com says that 16- and 17-year-olds are legally allowed to participate in pool betting and can also purchase lottery tickets.

However, the ASA points out that marketing to the under-18 age group is banned by the ad industry’s self-regulatory code and last year’s Gambling Act.

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