Centrebet did not 'sexualise' gambling: Watchdog

By By Amy Kellow | 17 October 2012

The ad watchdog has dismissed a case against online betting company Centrebet's campaign starring sportswoman Lauryn Eagle, despite complaints it "glamorised and sexualised gambling".

The television spot aimed to promote the brand's new mobile betting app and is fronted by sportswoman and its ambassador, Lauryn Eagle. It shows Eagle and four other women approach two males in a bar, before whispering 'Fire up' in one of the male's ears.

The complainant told the Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB) that it was breach of section 2.1, 2.4 and 2.6 of the Code of Ethics which relate to gender vilification, sex, and health and safety.

"If this was an alcohol ad, it would not have been permitted to air. Gambling, which has similar potential to cause harm on personal and social levels, is depicted as attractive and leading to sexual success.

"It not only encourages gambling, which has caused numerous problems throughout Australia, but also sexualises gambling in a way that is inappropriate but also misrepresents mobile betting. I believe that this advert glamorises gambling, suggesting that by using the betting app the men will instantly become more attractive to women."

Another said: "My partner and I were absolutely appalled to see that they were glorifying gambling and adding sex appeal as a form of marketing."

Centrebet refuted the complaints, arguing: "Our advertisement is clearly not vilifying or discriminating against any section of the community. All characters in the advertisement do not have any depiction of nudity, sex or sexuality.

After reviewing the ad, the watchdog ruled the ad was not a breach of the aforementioned codes.

"The advertisement is set within a bar and the approach of the women is very clearly a fabricated scenario that is unlikely to occur. The men were not encouraged to gamble based on a likely increase to their sexual appeal and were not seen to be uncontrollably gambling or drinking.

"The Board considered that advertisement did not depict material that was contrary to community standards on health and safety and did not condone or encourage excess gambling."

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