The UK Advertising Standards Authority has ruled against a SwankPoker.com advertisement launched in an adult magazine and intimating that sexual success and gambling are linked, reports The Media Guardian.
Following a complaint by the Remote Gambling Association, the ASA considered an ad campaign that featured a woman cupping her breasts under the strapline "Will you hold this pair for me?" The ads were placed in an adult title called Flush, and promised "hot action" to online gamblers where "your favourite girl will play as you tell her to".
A second promotion, an advertorial, positioned Swank Poker as "the very best in poker action coupled with the finest erotic entertainment that the civilised world has to offer".
Yet another advertorial in the campaign told readers that the female online poker players featured in the service are "not your alter egos" but "bring enough action to the Swank tables and the next thing you know, she could be taking care of your wildest fantasies". Rewards included "serious erotic action" and "the opportunity to star in a movie with them".
The RGA complained to the Advertising Standards Authority that the ads linked gambling to seduction and sexual success. The Association also argued that the ads were not socially responsible, particularly in relation to protecting children and "other vulnerable persons" from being exploited by gambling commercials.
Swank Poker denied the allegations, saying that "instead of offering caps and T-shirts" it offered rewards that were legally sold "but which happened to be of an adult nature". The company also said that it clearly advertised that its services were for adults only.
The ASA ruled that the ads did breach the advertising code for linking gambling to sexual success and said they should not appear again.
However, the watchdog did not uphold the second complaint, that the ads could target young and vulnerable people, because they appeared in a magazine targeting 25- to 40-year-olds.
Swank Poker is no stranger to controversy. Founded in September 2008, it did not take long for the website, officially owned by a BVI company called Charon Communications, to find itself the subject of a WIPO domain name dispute as the respondent. The complainant, Violet Media Corporation of Poughkeepsie, New York claimed an assault on its established adult brands with the Swank prefix and won the case. The respondent was represented by a Czech legal firm.
It is believed that Charon may also be connected to Red Cherry Poker.com, which has a similarly adult presentation and content.
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