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Product: Greyhound Racing
Advertiser: Irish Greyhound Board
Medium: Online - Company Website, Radio
ASAI Code 7th Edition: 2.4(c), 3.3, 10.4, 10.10
A radio advertisement for the Irish Greyhound Board promoted greyhound racing as an evening out. The advertisement stated:
“There are many ways to pick a winner at the dogs:
eh dog number 5 after me favourite perfume;
dog number 6, the amount of times I've re-married;
ah, trap number 4 after the amount of women who've given me a fake phone number tonight;
number 2, I read the form.
Not all of them fool-proof, but all fun, and that's before you've enjoyed a drink, or food or the actual race. Unleash the good times and book online for the best price group packages including dinner at gogreyhoundracing.ie
Subject to availability, terms and conditions apply.”
The advertisers’ website included several specials such as a family package, together with information on the company. At the bottom of the website a banner advertisement appeared for a third party betting company.
The complainant considered that the radio advertisement was encouraging gambling by making reference to the form, however, it had not included any reference to responsible gambling.
The complainant noted that the website provided in the radio advertisement included space which third party companies could purchase. When the complainant viewed the website they noted that an advertisement for a third party betting company was placed in a banner at the bottom of the page. They complainant also noted that the advertisers had not referred to greyhound racing as a form of betting or gambling. They considered that the advertisers were encouraging gambling without making any reference to same.
The advertisers said that this was the second year that they had run the advertisement and that it had received copy clearance approval. In regards to the radio advertisement, they said that it had made no reference to gambling or betting, that the message was about picking a winner in a race, with no incentive to place money on a race or reference that placing a bet enhances the race. They said that the advertisement had directed customers to book a group food and drinks package while enjoying a greyhound race, not gambling.
In response to the reference to the ‘form’, they said that no reference had been made to how much had been bet on the greyhound or a booking and the reference to ‘form’ was referencing how the greyhound had performed in previous races. They said that they had not included a responsibility message as there was no need to include it since the advertisement had not included any reference to gambling or betting.
They said that the radio advertisement was about the sporting occasion itself and the menial reasons a sporting event attendee would pick one racing greyhound over another, as a neutral would do at an Irish provincial rugby game. They said that in the advertisement, the sporting fan was picking a greyhound to cheer/support based on something menial such as it’s the number of their favourite perfume etc. They said that at no point was there any reference to gambling or betting.
In regards to the website, they said that the site promoted the sporting occasion that is greyhound racing and that a small bar at the bottom of the page did include a responsibility message, therefore, it had complied with all gambling advertising self-regulation rules.
Complaint Upheld In Part.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint and the advertisers’ response. The Committee noted that the advertising, while referring to the race itself, had also made reference to the fact that food and drink were available. They also noted that the advertisers did not consider that their radio advertisement was advertising gambling or betting. The Committee considered, however, that half of the advertisement was given to dialogue on how people picked a ‘winner’. Given the concentration on ways to pick a winner for the first half of the advertisement, the Committee considered that the content was likely to be interpreted as strongly implying the notions of chance and associated gambling activity. In the circumstances the Committee considered that the radio advertising should have included a responsibility message. In the circumstances the Committee considered that the radio advertisement was in breach of Section 10.10.
In regards to the advertisers’ website, the Committee noted that there were a number of areas where banner ads were placed. Where the advertisers were betting companies, the Committee noted that a responsibility message was included. In the circumstances they did not uphold this element of the complaint.
The radio advertising must not reappear in its current form. An advertisement with a significant portion of content referring to the likes of picking winners and/or form should include a responsibility message (as opposed to advertising only promoting entertainment aspects of services, such as activities concerning food and drink).