The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) has issued a warning to online gambling company 32Red over the marketing of the NetEnt-produced Jack and the Beanstalk slots game.
The complaint against 32Red focused on paid-for Google search ads for the casino, which were identified on April 25 this year, publicising the online slots game. The ads focused on the bonuses available at 32Red and their wider range of online gambling products, but the complaint to the ASA suggested that the branding of the Jack and the Beanstalk game could appeal to children.
In its response to the complaint and the ASA investigation, 32Red said that the Google adverts were part of a wider campaign to target Google users who used search terms that coincided with the names of many of their slots games, including Jack and the Beanstalk.
According to 32Red, Jack and the Beanstalk was included in the campaign in error, as it was a game that they regarded as ‘high-risk’ and so would not be available to anyone who accessed the 32Red site unless they had gone through age verification procedures. They also stated that they had removed the advert when it was brought to their attention.
But in its ruling, the ASA found that although the advert in question did not include any images related to the game that might have attracted children, the name of the slots game itself would inevitably be of interest to children, and that 32Red had therefore not ensured that advertising for the game was carefully targeted at over-18s, as it is required to do under industry rules.
32Red were ordered to ensure that the advert must not be used again in the same form and were reminded of their obligations to ensure gambling adverts were not targeted at children.