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ASA dings gambling operator for Monopoloy-themed ads

It’s no secret that UK-facing gambling operators are under heavy scrutiny from the UK Gambling Commission and the UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). Every ad an operator publishes or airs is, seemingly, examined under a microscope to insure that it’s up to snuff. Not surprisingly, plenty of ads are deemed “offensive” or – even worse – “harmful to children.”
Harmful to children is the category that regulators at the ASA have deemed a recent advertisement Entertaining Play, a Gibraltar-based gambling operator, that featured the character “Rich Uncle Pennybags.” The iconic character from the board game Monopoly, with his trademark top hat and white mustache, stirred up a firestorm of controversy with anti-gambling factions. These do-gooder saw the ad and quickly surmised an insidious plot to lure children into a life of debauched gambling, and the ASA agreed with them by ordering the offensive ad banned entirely, according to a report in the Guardian.
If you think this decision was the work of a bunch of pearl-clutching do-gooders, then maybe you’ll want to hear what the Right Rev Dr Alan Smith, the bishop of St Albans, had to say about the issue. “Board games should be allowed to remain board games and must be off-limits to gambling companies pushing boundaries in order to normalise highly addictive casino games,” he told the Guardian.
Company officials pointed out that their Rich Uncle Pennybags did not use the kind of exaggerated cartoon features that would normally appeal to children. Their arguments fell on deaf ears as the ASA would not relent on the ban saying, “Taking account of the ad as a whole, we considered that the use of the Monopoly logo and the depiction of the Mr Monopoly character meant that the ad was likely to appeal more to under-18s than to over-18s.”