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UK Gambling Operators Slammed for ‘Appealing to Children’

Could Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf entice children into a life marred by gambling addiction? That seems to be the conclusion drawn by the UK Advertising Standards Authority in a recent case involving online slots developed and promoted by ProgressPlay Ltd.

According to a complaint lodged with the advertising regulator by the Campaign for Fairer Gambling (CFG), ProgressPlay’s use of fairy tale imagery, specifically Red Riding Hood; the Big Bad Wolf; Hansel and Gretel; and forest fairies made the games, “likely to be of particular appeal to children.”

While company officials defended their internal review processes for keeping child-friendly imagery out of the reach of children, they did agree to move the game from their suite of free-to-play games.

A similar complaint was lodged against TGP Europe Ltd. for their use of child-friendly imagery, including imagery of a more general fantasy theme, such as castles and princesses. (Though they were also under fire for using pictures of Santa Claus in games as well.)

TGP Europe’s staff agreed to move the offensive games, they weren’t necessarily taking the ruling lying down. In their response to the CFG complaint, TGP’s representation stated:

TGP Europe stated that assessing whether a gambling ad had particular appeal to under-18s was highly subjective. For example, they disagreed that anything to do with Santa Claus was automatically of greater appeal to children than to adults. Furthermore, they believed that the concept of secret Santa was very much an adult one.

TGP believed that the themes of castles and dragons were currently popular because of a famous TV programme series aimed at adults.

While the company’s points are valid, the games in question were removed from the view of free-to-play players and no fines were issues in either case.

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