Saturday February 1,2014 : ANTI-F.O.B.T. CAMPAIGNER CRITICISED BY ADVERTISING STANDARDS BODY
Campaign for Fairer Gambling claims called into question.
The very media-active and voluble Campaign for Fairer Gambling has been rapped over the knuckles by the Advertising Standards Association in Britain over some of the claims it made in a parliamentary publication in the course of its anti-Fixed Odds Betting Terminals campaign.
Readers of CFG press material have become accustomed to the emotive language used in condemning FOBTs, which has included descriptive claims likening the machines to "the crack cocaine of gambling" and implying that bookies use the machines to "exploit poorer communities during a time of recession.”
However, on this occasion the claims were challenged through the ASA by MP Philip Davies in his personal capacity, and that body found that the material was out of order in two out of the five allegations made against it.
The advertising watchdog concluded that some of the claims made by the CFG lacked substantiation and were misleading, and directed the campaign organisers not to use the material again in its present form, and to support future claims with credible substantiation.
However, instead of accepting this independent third party ruling as a useful guide to future conduct, the CFG issued a statement claiming its material had been "vindicated" by the ASA before launching into a personal attack on Davies, accusing him of acting in the interests of bookmakers "yet again".
And just for good measure, the statement ended with another attack on FOBTs, asserting:
“It’s time for Government to disregard the claims of the bookmakers and their allies and pay attention to our substantiated and not misleading Campaign claims. Government has the power to reduce the maximum stake on these addictive betting shop roulette machines to GBP2. It’s time to stop the FOBTs now.”