In the UK, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned a television advertisement from Alderney-licensed online poker room PKR.com because it glamorised the risks involved in gambling.
The advert featured computer generated players competing in a virtual poker room. It starts with attention focused on a well-dressed man and a voice-over stating ‘I’ve come in over the top of pot-sized raises with middle pair, bluffed under the gun with four runners behind me, folded pocket Kings on a hunch, I’ve survived bad beats, sick draws and cold decks’.
The dapper player then laughs as he pushes a big stack of chips into the middle of the table with the voice-over proceeding ‘and I’ve played through fields of thousands to make the final table. Here I come’.
In its defence, PKR.com stated that the voice-over spoke in an even and balanced tone and did not refer to cash stakes or winnings. It stated that this, therefore, gave a realistic depiction of the opportunities involved in gambling and did not give the impression that it is financially beneficial to play on its site. It also added that the site also offered play for fun opportunities as well for real money.
In its ruling, the ASA accepted that the advertisement used poker terminology and understood that the phrases used referred to winning as well as losing. However, it found that the commercial gave the impression that it was acceptable to take risks on a hunch and implied that poker could be played in a reckless way. The regulatory body also noted that the lead character was laughing as he pushed in his chips and found that the advertisement could be seen as glamorising the risks involved with gambling, making it irresponsible.