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888 Fined Over TV Ad
It has not been a good few weeks for online casino behemoth 888. One of the world’s most trusted and beloved sites is yet again in the news for all the wrong reasons:
This time, the issue is with a television advertisement the company ran that critics say crossed the line from promoting action into directly targeting vulnerable players.
“Debt and financial worries”
At issue is the use of language that specifically targets those in financial difficulty.
The advertisement chronicles a depressed man who is struggling to pay for his wife cancer’s medicine before miraculously hitting an 888 jackpot for enough money to cover the bill. The advertisement concludes with the line “debt and financial worries came to an abrupt end.”
The add seemed to cross the line due to its specific targeting of individuals who are in desperate financial straits. Preying on those who are in financial difficulty is a practice that is not only harmful and outside the spirit of responsible online casino gambling, but also highly unethical.
UK Advertising Standards Authority acts
The UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) — a watchdog that ensures ethical advertising — ordered the removal of the add, noting in a statement that the advert was “irresponsible by the standards of the law.”
888 complied, immediately taking the add down. Moreover, they agreed to no longer work with those who had produced the ad.
888 Under Fire Again
This incident comes at an unfortunate time for 888. The company recently was slapped with the largest fine in the history of the UK for its practices regarding its partners. Now, it once again finds itself in the crosshairs of regulators for its relationships with other media companies.
Moving forward, it will be interesting to see what, if any, adaptation 888 might make. But one thing is for certain — as one of the world’s largest online casino companies, it will need to do more in order to minimize any further damage to its reputation.