December 5, 2023

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has reprimanded Mecca Bingo for violating the advertising code with an Instagram post featuring celebrity drag queen Baga Chipz. The post showcased two images of the celebrity, one in plain clothes and the other in full makeup, glamorous clothing, and jewelry, accompanied by the text “Before playing Mecca Bingo vs after playing Mecca Bingo.”

A complaint lodged with the ASA contended that the post implied that gambling could enhance a person’s self-esteem and self-image, deeming it an irresponsible attempt to promote gambling products and services. Mecca responded by stating that the purpose of the ad was to convey the fun and entertainment of its services, and that the “before and after” metaphor and the reference to having a “post bingo glow” reflected how a person may feel after a night at Mecca Bingo.

However, the ASA ruled that Mecca Bingo’s ad breached the code, as it implied that playing bingo could improve a person’s self-image through the use of contrasting images, a suggestion deemed to be irresponsible marketing. As a result, the ASA issued a warning to Mecca Bingo regarding its future marketing efforts and demanded that the ad not appear again.

The warning issued by the ASA serves as a reminder to gambling operators to ensure that their marketing and advertising efforts comply with the standards set by regulatory bodies. The case also highlights the importance of responsible advertising in the gambling industry to avoid promoting messages that could potentially have negative social or mental health impacts on individuals.

As the industry continues to evolve, it is imperative for gambling operators to remain vigilant and responsible in their advertising practices, taking into account the potential impact on individuals and society as a whole. Mecca Bingo’s experience with the ASA should serve as a lesson for all gambling operators to prioritize responsible advertising and marketing strategies in promoting their products and services.