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Louisiana State Univ.

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Advertising Standards Authority Bans Gambling Ad For Inapt Description of Qualities Needed For Poker

The Advertising Standards Authority has addressed complaints about a PokerStars advertisement that linked gambling and success with the opposite sex. It questioned whether the comparison between playing poker and achieving such success is apt.

The ASA noted Pokerstars' argument that the ad was targeted at men aged 21-44 years of age, and that the design of the ad was not attractive to young people. We considered that Daniel Negreanu was not a well-known personality or an obviously aspirational figure, and was unlikely to be of particular appeal to children or young people. We also considered that, in the context of the ad as a whole, the phrase "courage, conviction and confidence", although of general appeal, was unlikely to appeal particularly to children. We therefore concluded that the ad was not irresponsible and did not exploit the susceptibilities of children.

On this point we investigated the ad under CAP Code clauses 57.2 and 57.4 (b) (Gambling) but did not find it in breach.

...

We noted Pokerstars' argument that poker was a 'mind' sport that was distinct from other forms of mechanical gambling because it involved an element of tactics and skill. We also noted the complainant's concerns about the use of the term 'sport' in the ad. We considered, however, that poker was a well-known card game, and that the description of poker as a sport was unlikely to materially mislead members of the public about the nature of game. We also considered that the definition of 'sport' as a game, pastime or recreational activity was a definition that could be applied to poker. Notwithstanding that, we concluded that merely using the 'term' sport in itself to describe poker did not appeal particularly to children or young people, or encourage them to gamble.

On this point we investigated the ad under CAP Code clauses 7.1 (Truthfulness), 57.2 and 57.4 (b) (Gambling) but did not find it in breach.

...

We noted Pokerstars' argument that the reference to "courage, conviction and confidence" aimed to highlight the difference between poker and other, more mechanical, forms of gambling, and that that phrase did not suggest physical power or machismo. However, we considered that "courage, conviction and confidence" were attributes that demonstrated mental toughness or resilience, and would be seen as admirable qualities by the target audience of 21- to 44-year-old men. We also considered that the claim implied not only that those qualities were needed in order to play poker, but also that success at poker would therefore enhance those qualities. Because of that we concluded that the ad breached the Code.

On this point the ad breached CAP Code clauses 57.4 (f) and 57.4 (i) (Gambling).

...

The ad must not appear again in its current form.

Read the ASA's ruling here.

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/media_law_prof_blog/2008/09/the-advertising.html

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