Unlucky number 10 for Coral Interactive as ASA bans ad

By Robert Simmons
A TV advertisement for European booking giant Coral has once again ran afoul of the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for overtly putting pressure on players to gamble, marking the tenth time in three years that its Gibraltar based subsidiary Coral Interactive has been hauled in front of the ASA.

The advertisement, which was first featured on 16 April 2017, featured several stylised clips of footballers playing football with a voice-over which stated: “The beautiful game you can watch it or you can get involved in it with the latest Coral action. So are you a spectator or are you a player? You decide. Coral. Get in on the action.”

Sources at the ASA have confirmed that two complainants alleged the ad was harmful and irresponsible because they believed the voice-over implied only gamblers were true ‘players’ and that gambling was better than watching the sport. This prompted the ASA to conduct a full investigation into the advertisement.

When challenged regarding these claims, Coral Interactive said they did not believe the ad was harmful or irresponsible in any way. They believed the voice-over was asking whether a viewer was interested in having a bet as well as watching the match.

Coral Interactive said that they did not think that the tone of the voice-over was overtly pushy or aggressive in its promotion of the gambling element, claiming that it was a very straight and matter of fact read.

The company said that the key phrase used in the voice-over was “You decide” which in its opinion gave the viewer the option to make an informed choice. Coral felt that there was no pressure to place a bet or any implication that only gamblers were “true players”, and that gambling would thereby enhance a person’s personal image.

They said the phrase “Get in on the action” was a call to action following the featured bet for those interested in having a bet and this was not delivered in such a way that would imply a viewer would be a better person for taking part.

However, despite the company’s protestations, the ASA upheld the complaints and found that the overall tone of the ad implied that gambling was more exciting than being a spectator or playing the game. It also felt that too much emphasis was given to the term “player” in the voice-over which contributed to the overall impression that gambling would enhance personal image.

The ASA ruled that the advertisement breached broadcasting conduct codes 1.4 (Social Responsibility) and codes 17.3.6 and 17.3.5 (Gambling) respectively and have banned the advertisement from appearing again in its current form.


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