The Advertising Standards Authority in the UK has upheld public complaint number 111557 against GameAccount Global Ltd trading as Casinorip.com.
The complaint concerned a television advertisement, which may now no longer be used.
The TV ad for an online gambling service showed a serious-looking man and woman joining a casino table and playing Blackjack. The voice-over said "Everyone loves to play Blackjack. But if you play against the casino, it's the casino that always wins".
The couple were shown looking increasingly stressed as the croupier took all of the chips from the table and on-screen text stated "Dealer wins again". The man's shirt suddenly disappeared leaving him semi-naked and looking embarrassed and the voice-over continued "If you play against real people, there's less chance of you losing your shirt".
The couple where then shown again looking happy and confident while they played each other without a croupier present. The voice-over said "At casinorip.com, you play Blackjack against other players so a real person always wins, guaranteed!" The man at the table was shown winning the chips and on-screen text stated "Real Player Wins". The voice-over and on-screen text then stated "Don't play the Casino. Play a real person at casinorip.com".
The complainant objected that:
1. the claim "if you play against real people, there's less chance of losing your shirt" misleadingly implied that players were more likely to win with the advertiser than with a typical casino;
2. the claim "if you play against the casino, it's the casino that always wins" was misleading because he believed that at a traditional casino, the house did not always win in the short run whereas at casinorip, the house took a percentage of players' stakes (between 2.5 percent and 7.5 percent) on every single game.
In response, Gameaccount said:
1. The ad related specifically to their online multi-player blackjack game where one of the players would always win because they were only playing against each other and not the house or the dealer. They explained that all of their multiplayer games had a skill component which allowed stronger players to consistently win money when playing against weaker players, both in the short and long term and that players in peer-to-peer games could consistently win if they were good enough. They said that, in most online casino games, the house won more often than the players.
2. Gameaccount said that in a typical casino, a player was always expected to lose in the long run, but that with Casinorip.com, because of the skill levels in player-to-player games, the experienced players would win in the long run. They said that with typical casinos the house had fixed margins on stakes, with the typical margin on a Blackjack stake being between 1 percent and 2 percent.
Clearcast said that stronger players would benefit from playing at casinorip.com, whereas with traditional casinos it was the house that always benefited, regardless of player ability. They said they cleared the ad in 2006 and that they endorsed the advertisers defence.
However, the ASA adjudicator upheld the complaint, finding that the material breached CAP (Broadcast) TV Advertising Code rules 5.1.1, 5.1.3. 5.2.1, 5.2.2, 5.4.6 (Misleading advertising) and 11.10.1k (Rules for gambling advertisements).