Gala Bingo reprimanded by The ASA

Gala Bingo reprimanded by The ASA

Wednesday, October 4, 2017 Posted by Joseph Streeter
The advert was published by an affiliate of the site

Gala Bingo has been been the latest operator warned by The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) after a rogue advert by an unknown affiliate was deemed to target vulnerable people.

Gala Bingo stated that it was completely unaware of the advert before it went out, and have since terminated the partnership with the affiliate in question, as a result of the advert being published.

Last month Ladbrokes, 888 and Sky Vegas were all also warned after a similar advert was published by affiliates, it was a ruling that Sky Bet CEO Richard Flint said was the ‘the last straw’ in the operator’s decision to cancel it affiliate hub. Paddy Power Betfair also issued stringent guidelines to its affiliates about advertising standards and conduct.

Despite there only being a single complaint about the advert, The ASA adjudged that the advert not only appeared as an editorial, but also suggested that gambling can provide an escape from personal problems such as depression or that it can be a solution to financial concerns.

Issuing a warning to Gala, The ASA stated: “The ad must not appear again in its current form”, adding that each company’s “future ads, including those prepared by affiliates, must be clearly identifiable as marketing communications and to take care to ensure their ads were prepared in a socially responsible way.”

The advert, which recommended gambling as a way to clear £130,000 of debts, appears to have been created by a ‘sub affiliate’.

The main affiliate ClickDealer Ltd said that it had entered into an advertising promotion agreement with Gala Interactive (Gibraltar) Ltd for the promotion of ad materials, but did not create the ad. It had entered into an agreement with a sub-affiliate and the advertising material in question had been created by them. ClickDealer said that since receiving the complaint it stopped its collaboration with the sub-affiliate and had issued renewed guidance to its affiliates, highlighting the necessity of strict obedience with the affiliate guidelines in general and the CAP Code particularly.

The ASA said that this did not absolve the operator. In its judgement, it wrote: “The ASA noted that Gala Bingo was the company whose products were being advertised and that it was their website that consumers were directed to. Although we acknowledged that they maintained the ad had been produced by an affiliate, we nonetheless considered that, as the beneficiaries of the marketing material, they were responsible for the ad and for responding to the ASA investigation along with the affiliate marketer.”

It added: “Because we considered that the ad suggested gambling could provide an escape from personal problems such as depression and that it could be a solution financial concerns, we considered it to be socially irresponsible and was therefore in breach of the Code.”

Totally Gaming Says: It appears that one rogue ‘sub-affiliate’ has caused major issues across the sector - or in fact just highlighted some major gaps in the affiliate marketing sector. The fact that so many operators could not identify the organisation promoting their products perhaps makes Sky Betting and Gaming’s nuclear option of closing its Affiliate Hub more understandable.

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