Monopoly-Style Gambling Ad Breaches ASA’s Code Protecting Children

  • ASA is likely to ban a Monopoly-themed online gambling ad that may appeal to young children
  • Latest crackdown on ads that could target children by the UK's advertising regulator
  • Steps need to be taken to ensure gambling ads don't appeal to children
Corner of Monopoly board
UK advertising regulator says Monopoly-style gambling ad may appeal to young children.

ASA Says No to Gambling Ad

The UK’s advertising regulator is expected to ban a Monopoly-style online casino game after determining that it might appeal to young children.

According to a report from The Guardian, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) located the game’s advertisement on the Mirror Online website and found it in violation of its code regarding young children. As a result, the ASA has told Entertainment Play, the Gibraltar-based company behind the game, that they must not show it again.

The ad featured the familiar Rich Uncle Pennybags, which the advertising regulator believed might appeal to young children. Entertainment Play, however, stated that the mascot, dressed in adult clothing, “did not possess exaggerated features and did not mimic any style of cartoon character seen in current children’s programming.”

It also said that it had taken measures to ensure that the online game appealed only to those over the age of 18. The Mirror Online added that it didn’t believe the ad would draw young children to it and that it had included an 18+ label with it.

Explaining its decision about the Monopoly-themed ad, the ASA said:

We considered that Monopoly was a family game generally played by or with children, and that under-18s would therefore recognize and find the ad’s references to it appealing.

Banning Games

The news of this comes at a time when the spotlight has focused on the impact online gambling can have on children.

For instance, the advertising regulator banned a betting ad that appeared in an app called New Mario Kart 8 Trick last year.

According to the September report, the ad was aimed at under-18s, while the app had a PEGI rating 3, meaning it was suitable for all ages. However, William Hill, the bookmaker behind the ad, said that the Mario Kart brand was not aimed at young children, claiming in 2017 that 86% of its players were over the age of 18.

Last May, the ASA banned three fairytale games on a gambling website after it was perceived that they may appeal to children. The UK’s Campaign for Fairer Gambling complained to the advertising regulator after it was found that the games had fairytale characters in them. These included a wolf, a pixie, and a fairy in a forest.

Appealing to Online Gaming Operators

The issue of online gaming and its potential impact on young children is ongoing.

In a bid to address this problem, the ASA, the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP), the Gambling Commission, and the Remote Gambling Association (RGA) wrote a joint letter, in 2017, to over 450 online gambling operators urging them to remove gambling ads that may appeal to those under 18.

They wrote: “The use of particular colors, cartoon and comic book images, animals, child- and youth-orientated references, and names of games such as “Piggy Payout,” “Fluffy Favourites,” “Pirate Princess,” and “Jack and the Beanstalk” are likely, alone or in combination, to enhance appeal to under 18s.”

While more needs to be done to stop the children of today becoming the problem gamblers of tomorrow, steps are being taken to clamp down on the ads that may appeal to children.