ASA clears Ladbrokes on Goonies ad complaint


Has Ladbrokes been knowingly targeting children by promoting Goonies-inspired slot machines on their social media? That’s the question the UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) investigated recently after a single UK resident was triggered by a pirate-themed logo on an advertisement. This is only the latest example of the absurdity that UK operators are subjected to by advertising and gaming regulators.

At the heart of the complaint was an advertisement for Ladbrokes that ran on Facebook in March of this year. The advertisement, which featured some nautical imagery, read, “Play The Goonies Jpk at Ladbrokes. Get 30+ Free Spins on top of your £50…” That was enough to make one UK resident consider the idea that Ladbrokes was deliberately targeting contemporary children by referencing the Goonies, a movie that was released in 1985.

As is always the case in the UK, the complaint was taken seriously and the ASA launched an investigation into Ladbrokes’ advertising practices. What the investigation turned up would not be particularly shocking to anyone who really spent a moment considering how effective images from a 36-year-old movie would be in luring today’s children into a life of gambling.

According to the ASA’s official report, Ladbrokes was not targeting children with the ad, but rather adults who would have had fond memories of the Goonies. Their children, the report determined, would not be likely to have even heard of the film. Accordingly, Ladbrokes was cleared of any wrongdoing in the matter.

The whole idea of launching an investigation like this over a single, patently absurd, complaint from the public is absurd and should be changed. It’s unknown how much time and money these types of investigations cost both the UK taxpayers and gambling operators like Ladbrokes, but there’s no question that they are a waste of resources across the board.

Tags: Ladbrokes, Legal News

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