Complaints against Betfred ad not upheld by ASA

Complaints that a Betfred advert ‘normalised gambling’ by showing characters playing bingo while carrying out everyday activities was not upheld by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).
The ad, from earlier this year, featured a woman in the bath, a man preparing a meal and a woman exercising, all while playing online bingo on mobile devices.
A voice-over during the ad proclaimed “Love to chill in the bath? Make it a thrill and a laugh with Betfred bingo. Forget those two little ducks, soak up the action and win big bucks. You can even join in whilst making the tea with games from as little as just 1p.
“Play with Betfred bingo and enjoy top promotions such as daily free bingo games, bonus back and more. Put the fun back into [the] house. Kick back and bingo with Betfred”.
One individual raised an issue with the television offering, questioning whether showing characters gambling while carrying out everyday activities normalised gambling, and as a result challenged whether the ad was irresponsible.
Responding, it was stressed that “the ad did not suggest that people should play bingo excessively, or that it should take priority over any other social interaction,” adding that high stakes gambling was not promoted, nor was the portrayal of any unrealistic positive or negative emotions which insinuated harm.
Betfred added that gambling was not shown as the sole activity being undertaken, with individuals featured enjoying playing bingo as part of their leisure time, with bingo shown amongst a range of activities, with no implication that it was important to be able to gamble during them all.
Furthermore, Betfred emphasised that gambling was not shown as being indispensable, characters were not displayed as being isolated figures and the ad did not portray a taboo or forbidden act which people should be ashamed of or hide, but the community aspect of bingo.
Releasing its assessment, The ASA stated “the ad focused on how people could gamble using Betfred bingo while also undertaking tasks or leisure activities around the house. The characters taking a bath and exercising were shown playing bingo in conjunction with doing those tasks, rather than instead of them. Gambling was therefore not portrayed as taking priority over those tasks or as indispensable.
“During the section showing the character preparing a meal, he was seen throwing food in the air when he realised he had won a prize. While we considered the character’s exaggerated reaction to winning showed he was briefly distracted from his task, again we did not consider that this scene portrayed gambling as taking priority in life.
“We concluded that the ad did not portray, condone or encourage gambling behaviour that was socially irresponsible, or portray gambling as indispensable or as taking priority in life.”

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