ASA survey: Gambling ads a safe bet Invades London for the WSOP-E

The Advertising Standards Authority in the United Kingdom published the results of its findings this week from the Gambling Compliance Survey 2007, which showed that 99% of ads surveyed adhered to the Advertising Codes.

The survey was conducted by the ASA's compliance team across media between Sept. 1 and Oct. 31, 2007, in order to assess the compliance rate of gambling ads with the new tightened gambling advertising codes.

The new advertising rules are designed to ensure that gambling advertisements from land-based and online establishments are socially responsible, especially with regard to protecting young people and vulnerable members of society. The codes went into effect Sept. 1, 2007, with the new U.K. Gambling Act.

According to the ASA, 784 advertisements were monitored, and only seven (1%) seemed to breach the Advertising Codes.

The advertisements that were assessed included 312 press and magazine ads, 344 Internet banner or pop-up ads, 56 TV ads, 31 radio ads, 28 direct mailings, eight circulars and five outdoor ads.

Six of the seven ads that appeared to be in breach of the new standards were TV ads, and four of those were produced by one advertiser. The only other potential problem came from an Internet pop-up ad.

The ASA report doesn't name the companies whose ads are in breach of the regulations.

However, the ASA did say the advertisers have been contacted and the Compliance team sought assurances that the ads will not be run again.

"Action was taken by Compliance against those ads that appeared to breach the Codes," said the ASA. "Ongoing monitoring of gambling ads across all media will continue to ensure high levels of compliance with the Codes are maintained."

According to the ASA, it has only had cause to formally investigate complaints about one gambling ad since the new rules were introduced, which reflects the high compliance rate revealed by the survey. The complaints were about a TV ad for Ladbrokes, and the complaints were not upheld.

"The ASA understands the concerns of many members of the public about the potential for harm from irresponsible advertising. Our prime concern is protecting consumers, particularly the young or vulnerable, by ensuring that advertising for gambling products adheres to high standards," said Christopher Graham, ASA director general.

"The results of this compliance survey are confirmation that advertising self-regulation is working effectively and that advertisers in the gambling sector are demonstrating a proper concern for social responsibility in their marketing communications."

According to Andrew Lyman, Gambling Commission director of monitoring and enforcement, the survey is also welcomed by the Gambling Commission.

"The Commission will continue to work closely with the Advertising Standards Authority and its own licensees to make sure the codes of practice are effective," Lyman said.

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