Ladbrokes Cleared over Goonies Advertisement

Gambling advertisement are again in the news but this time on Facebook. A complaint was made when Ladbrokes put up an advert about the Jackpot King slot game ‘The Goonies.’ Now the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) have rejected the complaint.

The advertisement had appeared on Facebook on March 31 and soon ran into trouble. It had an image of a nautical map with golden doubloons. There was also a Goonies logo with the name of the film on it.

It was felt by one person that the slot game based on the 1985 movie ‘The Goonies’ would be of particular interest to those under 18 years of age. They therefore in their wisdom decided to make a complaint about the advertisement.

The movie has long been a favourite and it’s rather surprising it’s taken this long for it to be turned into a slot game. Who could forget the search for the lost fortune of the 17th century pirate One-Eyed Willy? How they got away with that name we’ll never know.

After the complaint was made, Ladbrokes (who are owned by Entain), removed the advertisement. However, they did not believe the reason for the complaint that had been made. Ladbrokes told how the film was 36 years old and “was not a current or recent film that would be well known to children in 2021”. Their view was that the advertisement was targeting site users who were aged at least 18.

An investigation was held into the complaint by the ASA. Their task was to decide whether the advertisement went against their rules regarding the protection of children, young persons and other vulnerable persons. Section 16.3.12 says that advertisements must not “be likely to be of particular appeal to children or young persons, especially by reflecting or being associated with youth culture”.

The ASA did not uphold the complaint and agreed with the views held by Ladbrokes. It felt that the movie would appeal more to those aged over 18 rather than those under that age. Their decision said that the film has “gained cult status, particularly among adults who were children when the film was originally released.”

Therefore it “was not a recent or current film with which children were likely to be familiar…We therefore concluded that the ad was not of particular appeal to under-18s and had not breached the Code.”

The ASA decision added that the advertisement did not feature any of the cast which was mainly made up of child actors. Nor were there any other images from the movie. They added that the design of the actual advertisement was “not colourful, cartoonish or otherwise presented in a way that was likely to resonate with children and were more likely to have general or adult appeal.”