UK Advertising Regulator Censures Camelot for Gambling Ad near School
The UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) censured Camelot for placing a scratch card game advertisement near the entrance of a school. Camelot, which has operated the UK National Lottery since 1994, admitted its wrongdoing and vowed to take steps to assure such ad placements do not happen again.
A concerned citizen informed the ASA about the advertisement, which violated school regulations as well. The scratch card advertisment featured an image of a rainbow and the text, “Scratch and See. Top Prize £50,000 Lucky Fortune. 7 CHANCES TO WIN! £2.”
While the ASA did not claim the ad was targeted at children, the use of a rainbow and a small bet price could be seen as an advertisement children might find appealing. Just this week, the UK Gambling Commission released its annual report on underage gambling in the UK, claiming children age 11 to 16 were placed at great risk.
“Ad Breached the Code”
The Advertising Standards Authority stated in its report on the case: “The ASA was concerned by the proximity of the poster to the school and considered that the audience of the ad would likely be significantly skewed towards under-16s and because of that it was directed at children through the context in which the ad appeared.”
“We therefore considered that the placement of the ad breached the Code.”
This was the first breach of ASA policy by Camelot in the past four years. Because no other infractions have occurred in a while, the ASA issued no fines. Camelot admitted fault in the case.
Billboard Placement Due to Geolocation Error
The official explanation for the breach of was a geolocation error. Camelot marketing placed he add within the 100 meters distance which is required by law. Camelot said it has a new tool which will improve its accuracy in placing billboards in UK cities.
UK Gambling Commission Fines
Camelot has had a series of scandals which fall under the purview of the UK Gambling Commission. In 2016, Camelot allowed a scam artist to cash a forged lottery ticket, which led to a fine by the Gambling Commission.
The past two National Lottery bidding processes (2002, 2013) led to charges that Camelot used underhanded means to secure the license from UK officials. The UK Gambling Commission, which subsumed many of the regulatory duties of lottery officials in the past few years, will conduct the National Lottery bidding in 2020.
National Lottery Bidding Process
The newly appointed Gambling Commission director recently announced a more open bidding process which would include technology companies and financial institutions. The idea is to create the kind of brisk competition which would maximize profits for the UK government.
Camelot has been dogged with charges that it has increased the percentage of its profits since 2010, while providing worse services. Camelot long kept its lottery license because it contributed to the pensions of an Ontario teachers union, but charges that the National Lottery’s overseer is more profit-driven now harms its overall case.
Glitches in the Camelot App
When asked about his decision to accept bids from a broader base of companies, the UK Gambling Commission director pointed to several technical failures and glitches in Camelot’s lottery app. Some UK bettors complained the lottery app robbed them of potential winnings.