As the revision of the 2005 Gambling Act is ongoing, the UK Gambling Commission and other bodies in the UK continue to deal with issues related to gambling advertisements. Last week, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) investigated an ad that was published by 888 UK Ltd, accusing them of offering misleading advertisements.
Last week, there was also an issue with several MPs receiving gifts from gambling companies, many started questioning the integrity of these actions. As the review of the 2005 Gambling Act is about to officially launch, many questioned the intentions of those companies who might want to appeal to important members of the Parliament.
888 UK Ltd Scrutinized for Misleading Advertisements Published on 777.com
As the UK authorities are continuously working on ensuring a safer gambling environment, many gambling companies were criticized for the way they advertise their products. Last week, 888 UK Ltd was accused of spreading a misleading advertisement on 777.com. The ad that sparked the criticism was about three minutes long and contained a message that read “77 Free Spins (*T&Cs Apply) ENABLED FOR ANOTHER.”
At least one viewer felt misled by this advertisement message, with the individual interpreting the promotion as an ongoing offer that does not expire once the timer reaches zero. The same person filed a complaint about the a with the ASA.
The same ad sparked other complaints as there were also texts that claimed, “Casinos are trying to shut down a free Android App”, or messages like, “That’s allowing everyday people, like Simona Moron, to win huge progressive jackpots using nothing but free spins.” A couple of individuals were displeased with such misleading information and also filed complaints against the ad.
According to 777, the ASA investigated the issue and found out that the ad was published without receiving the casino’s approval. The brand claimed that it was a third-party publisher that posted the ad, with 777 requesting the publisher to remove the ad. All collaborations and campaigns with the said third party were suspended after the incident.
Authorities who regulate advertisements in the UK believe that such marketing tools are used to encourage individuals to spend more time gambling and place wagers more rapidly. The ASA established that the message about casinos trying to shut down a free Android app was referring to casinos preventing the mobile app from running. The watchdog also deemed the second part of the promo ad as misleading as 777 did not provide any evidence that players can potentially win huge progressive jackpots using just free spins.
The ASA reminded 888 UK Ltd t/a 777.com that the brand is responsible for providing evidence for claims in their advertisements, even if they are published by third-party partners. While being warned for the misleading ad, the brand did not receive any other penalty.
Amidst the Start of Gambling Act Review, MPs are Enjoying Gifts from Major Gambling Companies
Recent records showed that several UK MPs have received generous donations from gambling operators. In addition, two MPs were hired as gambling advisors by such companies and all of that coincides with the approaching review of the 2005 Gambling Act. Many accused gambling companies of trying to win over politicians by offering numerous gifts.
One of the politicians who had enjoyed certain benefits as a gambling advisor is Laurence Robertson, ex chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Betting and Gaming and current Tory MP for Tewkesbury. Robertson took on the position of sport and safer gambling parliamentary advisor and was hired by the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) at the end of 2020.
According to the register of interest, the MP receives about £24,000 for this position but the more bizarre thing is that the data shows Robertson working merely 10 hours per month. After he joined the BGC, he was adamant about the new gambling laws being way too strict, forcing many individuals to resort to betting on the black market.
During the same period of Robertson’s hiring, MP Phillip Davies was also hired by GVC Holdings, which is the company behind the giant gambling operator Ladbrokes. Data shows that Davies’ new position as an advisor offers him £13,000 and he also receives an additional £50,000.
Even though there are no suggestions that these MPs are breaking Parliament rules in any way, many consider their hirings as very suspicious. The reason for that is that they took on their new positions as gambling advisors just as the Gambling Act review is about to go under serious revision.