Gambling often serves as a means of escape for the individuals who chose to participate. In fact, a quick trip to Las Vegas would reveal numerous ways to escape from the everyday hassles of modern life. With many deep in debt and more stressed than ever reported in history, it is understandable that one would want the escape. However, there is an unspoken understanding amongst most that a weekend getaway to Las Vegas and similar towns are not likely to get to the heart of everyday struggles. Unfortunately, recently an advertising affiliate for numerous online casinos purposefully blurred the line between gambling as an escape to gambling as a valid means to confront and solve problems.
It was recently reported that companies (i.e., Sky Vegas, 888, Ladbrokes, etc.) specializing in online casinos have been associated with the release of a misleading advertisement. These companies deny any responsibility for the release of the controversial advertisement. Rather, each company claims that the misleading advertisement was published by an affiliate without their knowledge or consent. However, many believe that even if Sky Vegas, 888, and Ladbrokes were unaware of the content of the advertisement, that they should still be held responsible for the advertisement as they stood to profit off of any individual who chose to gamble using their platforms because of the advertisement. What made the advertisement so misleading?
The advertisement was incredibly misleading as it was presented as if it were a legitimate news article. What is more disturbing is that the advertisement preyed on individuals who were already vulnerable. The affiliate advertiser achieved this deception by stating that gambling was a healthy and legitimate way of ridding an individual of large sums of debt, and even that gambling would cure an individual’s fight with mental conditions such as depression. Due to the presentation of the advertisement, many believed that gambling with companies associated with the affiliate would alleviate their depression or free them of their accumulated debts.
It is clear in hindsight that such outcomes are not likely via gambling. Many believe that Sky Vegas, 888, and Ladbrokes should be held responsible for the actions of the affiliate. After much review and great consideration, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) agreed. The ASA declared that despite claims that Sky Vegas, 888, and Ladbrokes did not consent to the release of the advertisement that they would be held responsible for taking advantage of an already vulnerable population as they would stand to gain a profit.
Due to the decision made by the ASA, Sky Vegas has eliminated their contract with the affiliate. Further details as to whether 888 and Ladbrokes will follow suit in breaking the contract with their affiliate at a later date. Furthermore, the ASA has instructed Sky Vegas, 888, and Ladbrokes to review every advertisement that will be promoting their products. Specifically, these companies are required to examine the proposed advertisement in detail to ensure that it meets ethical requirements.
Hopefully, this unfortunate incident will serve as a lesson for all involved and all that are watching. It is crucial for us as a global society to hold companies accountable for any discrepancies in agreed upon ethical standards. For if we do not uphold large companies to these standards, the efforts of the ASA will be in vain.