Casino Rama is known for its commercials, depicting the fun and excitement of gambling. They often verge on glamourizing gambling, but few viewers are ever offended. The operator’s latest ad, however, has ruffled some feathers, conveying the message that adults should ditch their friends and family and head to the casino instead.
The new advertisement shows a woman sitting a small get together with her friends. A woman named ‘Lindsay’ (or ‘Linda’ – the narrator can’t remember) is show speaking to her enthusiastically while she sits there, seeming to be bored out of her mind. The narrator speaks in a monotonous, bored voice:
“Really? So, this is what passes for entertainment?” he asks.
The advertisement then cuts to several quick scenes of gambling, gourmet food and bright lights. The narrator then proclaims, “Adios, Lindsay. That’s more like it!”.
Normally, Casino Rama ads depict couples or groups of friends decided to head to the casino together rather than spending a night in. They show that gambling can be fun and exciting while in the company of your loved ones; however, the new ad takes a different, more pessimistic approach. Approved by the OLG, the commercial seems to express the notion that being with friends and family is a tedious and boring activity. It states that gambling is much more interesting and exciting than spending time with people you’re acquainted with.
It seems to be promoting gambling as a form of escapism, which is generally not the kind of term that you would want to associate with the activity. Problem gamblers often use gambling as a form of escapism. They also tend to neglect their friends and family in favour of the activity. The Casino Rama ad seems to be promoting all of these things, which is not a healthy message for Canadians.
Martin Regg Cohn of the Toronto Star states that “it’s a bit jolting to see the OLG broadcasting the opposite messages of escapism and disengagement”. As Premier Dalton McGuinty has made the importance of family an important platform, the approval of the advertisement seems hypocritical in addition to conveying a controversial message.