Online casino advert banned for targeting problem gamblers

Online casino advert banned for targeting problem gamblers

December 26, 2019 Off By Kristin Simmons

Online casino advert banned for targeting problem gamblers

Casumo, a celebrated online casino, was recently forced to withdraw an advert that promised free spins and bonuses to punters who were Googling ways to stop themselves from gambling. This has come as regulations to foster responsible betting business activities in the UK become more stringent.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) received and validated a user complaint about an advert that Casumo had paid for. The Malta-based casino has previously incurred penalties amounting to £5.85 million for system failures related to problem gambler protection. 

The ASA confirmed that a Casumo app advert appeared when the complainant searched for a way to unsubscribe from all betting activities. It was a product listing ad with the heading, “Welcome bonus to new players Casumo 100% and 20 free spins.” It invited searchers to create an account and start playing. 

In its defense, Casumo said it had systems that would bar its adverts whenever users used certain search terms. The systems can avoid fostering problem gambling. However, Casumo claimed it hadn’t included the term “unsubscribe” within the terms because it thought the option was linked to people who wanted to opt out of mailing lists, rather than attempting to bar themselves from betting. 

The law requires gambling companies to help problem gamblers exclude themselves from gambling activities. Unfortunately, GamStop, an industry-wide tool meant to help addicts keep themselves from all betting sites with a single action, has encountered problems. Consequently, the Gambling Commission is yet to approve it. 

Although Casumo argued that it was almost impossible to cover all search combinations and variations since several Google and search aspects are extremely dynamic. However, the casino inactivated the search term. Additionally, Casumo reviewed their excluded search term list to diminish the chances of their ads appearing to vulnerable people like problem gamblers and children. 

ASA admitted that Casumo acted quickly to address the issue of the ad after the user raised the complaint. 

Not the First Time

It isn’t the first time for Casumo to face disciplinary action from an advertising regulation body. The casino was among the three online casino companies that the Gambling Commission penalized £14 million last year over the failure of its systems to shield problem gamblers and avert money laundering. 

Earlier this year, Casumo was accused of disregarding a betting addict’s apparent addiction signs. The victim had blown £125,000 while getting gambling incentives. The casino has also incurred fines and penalties that amount to hundreds of thousands for violating advertising and betting regulations.