The ABB today welcomed the ASA’s decision not to pursue a complaint about an ABB ad in the Racing Post in March by The Campaign for Fairer Gambling which challenged whether:
- the claim “backyourlocalbookie” was misleading, because it implied that the campaign was intended to support small local businesses rather than large betting shop chains. They noted that the majority of the adv’s members were large betting shop chains rather than small businesses;
- the claim “IN ONE OF THE UK’S MOST INNOVATIVE AND SUCCESSFUL RETAIL SECTORS” was misleading and could be substantiated, and
- the reference to “GAMING MACHINES” was misleading, because the cpns only wanted to restrict fixed odds betting terminals, rather than all gaming machines.
- Whilst Council noted the complainant’s (cpns) concern, it considered that readers were unlikely to interpret the claim “backyourlocalbookie” to refer independent shops only, but to all betting shops that were local to them. It did not consider the claim likely to mislead for the reason suggested.
- Council considered that the claim “IN ONE OF THE UK’S MOST INNOVATIVE AND SUCCESSFUL RETAIL SECTORS” was likely to be seen as a statement of the adv’s opinion on the gambling sector. Because the claim referred to being “one of the most” it considered that it was unlikely to materially mislead consumers and did not object to it.
- Council understood that the cpns were campaigning against fixed odds betting terminals rather than gaming machines in general. It did not consider the distinction between fixed odds betting terminals and other types of gaming machines to be significant to most readers’ understanding of the ad. It did not consider the claim likely to mislead for the reason suggested.
The ASA won’t pursue the complaint because, on the facts available to them, there doesn’t seem to be a breach of the Advertising Code.