Ladbrokes ads face ban as watchdog launches investigation

Ladbrokes’ latest campaign is facing a ban after the ad watchdog confirmed it has launched an investigation into complaints the ads are socially irresponsible. 

The TV and poster campaign features characters “the betting men” – ‘the believer’, ‘generous john, ‘Mr. Brightside’, ‘the professor’ and ‘gut truster’ – and an explanation of their betting philosophies.

Complainants have objected to sentiment and copy such as “when you win, get them in”, “when you win it’s skill, when you lose it’s bad luck” and “no odds too long, no dream too great”. 

Eighty-two people have complained to date, arguing the ads portray gambling as indispensable and that it can enhance personal qualities, among other objections.

The investigation is a blow for Ladbrokes as it looks to lead industry efforts to promote responsible gambling. It also launched a campaign featuring the ad’s characters alongside copy “gambling should be fun, not a problem. Please gamble responsibly”.

A spokesman for the betting firm reissued the statement made when news of the complaints emerged, accusing complainants of “having a sense of humour failure”, while pointing to the responsible gambling activity.

Gambling ads are under scrutiny from MPs concerned about the role they play in excessive gambling, particularly among young people. The Government announced several measures to promote responsible gambling last month, while the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP), which writes the rules the ASA enforces and the ASA will announce the outcome of a review of the rules on the content and scheduling of gambling ads in the autumn.