UK bingo operators warned to operate responsibly


The regulators at the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) have a message for UK bingo operators: you’re not so special when it comes to rules governing gambling. That appears to be the gist of a recent effort by the ASA to gently remind bingo operators that the products they offer are a form of gambling just like sports betting or online slots.

Bingo operators were notified of their status as purveyors of gambling in a statement from the ASA cheerfully titled, Eyes down for compliant advertising! Bingo ads and the Advertising Codes. Eyes down starts out cheerfully enough with the statement, “Ads for bingo products will be treated the same as betting products, so will be subject to the ‘Gambling’ section of the Ad Codes. The Codes state that ads must be socially responsible, and should not portray, condone or encourage gambling behaviour that could lead to financial, social or emotional harm.

The Gambling rules go into further detail about this, so if you’re creating content to promote a bingo product, it’s worth bearing the following in mind.”

From there, it goes on to remind bingo operators that they are not to depict the game as either an escape from personal problems or as a solution for financial problems. This is, of course, standard operating for procedure for gambling operators of all kinds in the UK, but for some reason the ASA felt the need to specifically remind bingo operators of those specific responsibilities. The announcement includes lots of specific examples of bingo operators violating the gambling code, but didn’t cite any current infractions or give any reason why a reminder was needed at this particular moment.