Adverts for online casino 32Red.com that popped up on Google searches of ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ are banned for potentially appealing to children
- Casino paid for adverts to promote its high risk online slot machine game
- Advertisements for the online game appeared next to references to fairy tale
- The company admitted it had made a mistake and removed the adverts
An online casino has been blasted by watchdogs after running paid for gambling ads that popped up when children and others searched for the term ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ on Google.
The Adverting Standards Authority (ASA) has banned the advertisements run by the company 32Red.com and ordered it to ensure its marketing does not include gambling ads that are likely to have a particular appeal to children.
The company ran two paid-for Google search ads to promote its high risk online slot machine game based on the children’s story, which promised a big bonus of up to £150 for first time players of the game.
Advertisements for the online game appeared on the same search pages as references to the classic fairy tale enjoyed by generations of children dating back to the 1800s and, according to some scholars, much earlier.
In a ruling published today, the ASA said: ‘We considered that because it was a highly popular classic children’s fairy tale, the inclusion of a reference to Jack and the Beanstalk meant that the ads were likely to be of particular appeal to children.
‘The ads were served to those who entered “jack and the beanstalk” into the search engine. Because it was a highly popular classic children’s fairy tale, we considered that there was a strong possibility that this search term would be input by children, or adults who were accompanied by a child.
‘We therefore considered that, by targeting ads to search engine users who used that term, 32Red had not specifically and carefully targeted the ad only at those aged 18 or over, and had therefore directed gambling ads to those aged under 18 years of age.’
It added: ‘The ads must not appear again in the form complained of. We told 32Red Ltd to ensure their gambling ads did not have particular appeal to those aged under 18 years of age and were not directed at those aged below 18 years of age through the selection of media or context in which they appeared.’
The company admitted it had made a mistake.
It removed the ads as soon they were brought to their attention and also checked that other high risk games also were not being actively advertised.
They had put in place steps to ensure that any such high risk titles did not appear in keyword lists for ad targeting in future.