The UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is hardly known as a soft touch to UK-facing operators, but they are dropping several complaints against LeoVegas subsidiaries 32Red and www.21.co.uk. Both companies were accused of marketing their services to young people. They were also accused of glamorizing gambling by suggesting that it imbues players with heightened toughness and charm. (Yes, that is what the ASA was actually investigating.)
In the complaint lodged against 32Red, a UK citizen complained that an advertisement for their Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway was linked to a television show of the same name (which is correct) and that the television show is aimed a youthful audience (which is not true). The ASA agreed with 32Red’s suggestion that the show skews towards an older audience and dismissed the complaint.
The complaint against www.21.co.uk (a different LeoVegas subsidiary) was slightly more absurd and centered on the idea that the company was suggesting that gambling can make a person physically tough. In the ad, a man in a tuxedo (I feel tougher already!) is playing blackjack while an audio track of a heartbeat plays. Apparently this combination, “portrayed gambling in a context of toughness.”
A deep dive into the subject by the ASA found that wasn’t the case at all. They went on to point out that tuxedos are actually required wear in some of London’s upscale casinos anyways. This is a fact that’s also known to anyone who has seen a James Bond movie.
While the ASA dismissed both complaints, the fact that they investigated either one of these absurd claims points to the fact that the UK-facing gambling industry is under severe scrutiny by regulators and that’s a condition that only looks to get worse in the days ahead.