ASA Bans Paddy Power Advert For Prioritizing Gambling Above Family Life

  • The ASA has pulled a TV ad featuring a man gambling on a Paddy Power game
  • The distracted man said he hoped his girlfriend would end up looking like her mother
  • Viewers complained over the “inappropriate remark,” deeming the ad irresponsible
  • ASA said commercials must not portray gambling as taking priority over family life
Banned stamp
The ASA has banned an advert from Paddy Power which it has ruled prioritized gambling over family life. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

ASA bans TV ad

UK advertising watchdog the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned a TV ad in the UK released by betting firm Paddy Power.

portrayed gambling as “taking priority in life over family.”

The ASA published its ruling on the ad Tuesday, with its conclusion that the 30-second advertisement portrayed gambling as “taking priority in life over family.”

The TV ad aired on the UK channels All4 and My5 in March. It features a young man gambling via his mobile on Paddy Power’s Wonder Wheel game while attending a Sunday lunch with his girlfriend’s family. The man’s girlfriend asks him if she’ll end up looking like her mother, to which he replies: “I hope so.”

The half-minute commercial attracted four complaints. Two deemed the ad irresponsible, maintaining it depicted a man so preoccupied with gambling that he made an “inappropriate remark” in conversation.

Traditional family setting

The other complaint centered on the ad’s voiceover, which comes just after the man realizes he’s said something wrong. “So no matter how badly you stuff it up, you’ll always get another chance with Paddy Power games,” the voiceover states. The complainant said the ad “encouraged gambling in the face of a loss” and thus was socially irresponsible.

did not exhibit signs of problematic gambling behavior

According to the BBC, Paddy Power’s defense to the ASA claimed that the 30-second commercial implied “a commitment to family life” via the traditional family setting. The operator also suggested the man in the advert did not exhibit signs of problematic gambling behavior.

In addition, Paddy Power affirmed that the ad’s tone was meant to be light-hearted – an argument that did not go down well in some quarters. UK gambling charity GamFam operations manager Nadine Ashworth took to Twitter to criticize Paddy Power’s justifications behind the ad:

Moving forward

The ASA, nevertheless, ruled that Paddy Power must not broadcast the ad again in its current form. It also warned Paddy Power against repeating the mistake in the future, reminding the operator that ads must “not portray gambling as indispensable or as taking priority in life, or portray, condone or encourage gambling behavior that was socially irresponsible.”

Paddy Power has accepted the decision of the ASA, agreeing to “consider its broader guidance moving forwards.”

The ban on the Paddy Power commercial couldn’t come at a more poignant time for the UK gambling industry in the build-up to the publishing of a government white paper on reform. As a result, major soccer franchises such as Crystal Palace and Newcastle United have recently ditched their sports betting sponsors.