UK Ad Standards Agency slams Coral Interactive for child-friendly ads & gamesLuke Haward, CDC Gaming Reports · June 23, 2018 at 12:11 amThe UK’s Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) responded to a bevy of complaints recently concerning gambling operator Coral Interactive, with most complainants arguing that the company was intentionally running games likely to appeal to children. The three games under scrutiny are Rainbow Riches, Lucky Wizard and Fishin’ Frenzy. The games were advertised using animations on the operator’s website during February; the ASA has ruled that these ads should not appear again in their current form.This is not the first time Coral has received negative attention from the ASA. The company has been previously criticised for directly linking gambling to seduction in some raunchy advertisements, a practice which is against UK law regarding permissible themes in gambling advertising.The interesting thing here is Coral’s response, in which they note, amongst other things, that they carry out extensive internal reviews in order to ensure that they do not break advertising rules, and that the style of the leprechaun under scrutiny in Rainbow Riches was “consistent” with the style of games across their site, and indeed across the industry as a whole.The above is the nub of the issue. The ASA was responding in this case to a specific viewer’s complaint, but it is honestly highly likely that, were they to receive further complaints for various other games across the industry, these targeting charges would likely be upheld in those cases also. In other words, there are plenty of games on the market which arguably – or not-so-arguably – stray into “child-appealing” imagery, even if unintentionally.The ASA is in the process ruling on the Coral ads, but the UK Gambling Commission has established regulations concerning child-appealing content in the games themselves. It may well be that we see a follow-up action from the Commission in this case. We’re also likely to see further operators slammed by the Commission for featuring child-friendly content in either games, ads or both, as happened throughout much of 2017.Now, while it is terrifically important to protect children from gambling, and a key part of this protection is to penalize providers that offer any such imagery, there are those who might argue – in the industry’s defence – that needing to avoid all cartoony imagery that might appeal to kids while at the same time avoiding any overly adult, sexual or violent imagery is sort of like being caught between a rock and a hard place. Still, there’s plenty of inertia in the industry in terms of adhering to existing standards. Only last month, the ASA upheld similar complaints against M88.com, as well as Fun88 & Letou (both owned by TGP Europe).