The Advertising Standards Authority has given a curious ruling that is sparking a debate in the UK. The authority believes that an ad for Monopoly, a decades-old board game, is too enticing for the kids.
A recent report from the Guardians states that an ad for Monopoly board game, appearing on the Mirror Online website, is too alluring for impressionable kids. The ad featured Rich Uncle Pennybags very prominently and was designed for Entertaining Play, a Gamesys subsidiary. Now, it has been banned.
The issue runs deeper than creating ads that appeal to children. Monopoly is a beloved board game that has been around for over eight decades. Children of this generation, who are already online for using Instagram and playing Fortnite could be exposed to a vicious world of gambling via Monopoly. The game is often played by families, and when kids find a familiar character online, they might be lured into gambling more easily. The board game is played using dice and figurative money only but in gambling, the stakes are real. Using the image of Mr. Pennybags could be detrimental to kids.
According to St. Albans bishop Dr. Alan Smith, board games should continue being board games. They must be off-limits to gambling operators who want to use them to normalize highly addictive casino games. Entertaining Play doesn’t stand with these arguments. They said that a board game mascot was unlikely to be attractive to children. He did not have any exaggerated features and does not even follow the style of cartoon characters seen in children’s programming today.
Even Mirror Online was shocked at the ruling and said that Mr. Pennybags didn’t have much of a reputation amongst kids these days. The website also ensured that it had an 18+ label displayed very prominently alongside the ad. However, the ASA remained firm on their decision and said that Monopoly is a family game that is generally played with children. Therefore, under-18 children will easily recognize Mr. Pennybags and find its references very appealing as well.
Gambling advertising that targets children has reduced dramatically in recent times thanks to the rulings of the ASA and its strict monitoring policies. In the case of Monopoly, the authority may have gone overboard since the game itself is akin to gambling in a way and doesn’t retain as much popularity amongst children as it once did.