The Advertising Standards Authority banned PokerStars TV ad that first aired in October last year. According to the ASA, the PokerStars advert was socially irresponsible, and it depicted gambling as reckless. PokerStars had their say in this too. They claimed that bluffing is an integral part of playing poker, as well as other card and board games. However, ASA’s word was final, and PokerStars is not to air the TV ad in the current form.
The controversial ad shows a young man playing poker with his friends with a voice-over delivering a message about bluffing. The narrator is telling viewers that they’re good at bluffing while listing all situations from everyday life in which they were successful at bluffing.
The man from the ad clearly doesn’t have good cards. The narrator is calling this situation the situation where a player can only win with a convincing bluff. After the inspiring speech about bluffing, the man stakes all his winnings on a single hand. This is one of the ad messages that the ASA is not comfortable with. The man decides to go all in based on his belief that he’s a good bluffer. This could be easily interpreted as reckless gambling.
Moreover, the message “you are already a great poker player” is part of the TV ad too. This is another concern for the ASA as the ad’s message has the potential of exploiting inexperienced players. One of the ways to understand the advertisement is that bluffing is all that matters in poker, which is not accurate.
On the other hand, one of the best poker sites, PokerStars doesn’t agree with the ASA. As the Poker Stars Group explained, the ad and the bluffing message were revolving only around the particular situation shown in the ad and not in general.
Whether the operator was successful in explaining their TV advert or not, the ASA is never ready to take risks when it comes to protecting consumers. The Stars Group removed the ad from their official channel. This time they only got a warning from the ASA not to make such ads in the future.