Casumo was reprimanded by the Advertising Standards Authority following a complaint that questioned the unethical targeting of an advertisement.
Called in question was a search result sponsored by Google that appeared after a request for the words ‘ how to unsubscribe from all gambling,’ with the heading’ Welcome Bonus to New Players Casumo 100% and 20 Free Spins’ and the message ‘ Create Account & Play Now!’Appearing afterwards.
In response, Casumo emphasised that its exclusion list has been constantly updated and modified based on trends and recommendations from its enforcement staff and responsible gambling strategist.
Following the lawsuit, the organisation immediately inactivated the search term in question, but challenged the mix of words used when constructing the exclusion list that had not been expected.
It was written in a report from the ASA that:
“Casumo considered that “unsubscribe” was associated with being removed from a mailing list, no longer receiving post or emails, cancelling a subscription or opting out of marketing.
“They added that those particular Google searches therefore related to marketing and advertising rather than the self-exclusion of gambling, and did not consider that the term “unsubscribe” was the standard term used when players wished to self-exclude.
“They said there were a multitude of phrases that a person could search for which might have a similar meaning, and which would return search results relating to various content, including when ‘unsubscribe’ was used as a statement rather than a question.”
Stressing that, considering their understanding of the generic definition of’ unsubscribe,’ that is, being excluded from a mailing list, they did not consider irresponsibly targeting the ad.
In its own review of the claim, the ASA accepted that Casumo immediately took steps upon initial receipt to remedy where their ads had been distributed.
Nevertheless, as it outlined its decision, the self-regulatory body stated: “Because we considered there was a strong possibility that vulnerable consumers seeking to prevent exposure to gambling ads, and access to gambling websites, might have been served a gambling ad following a search for “how to unsubscribe from all gambling”, we concluded that the ad had not been responsibly targeted.”
The ad must not appear again in the complained form, asking Casumo to ensure that their ads are appropriately targeted after Google searches.