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Health Lottery warned by watchdog over “irresponsible” advert

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Watchdog rules Health Lottery advert condoned gambling

A TV advert by the Health Lottery has been branded “irresponsible” for encouraging gambling.

The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) ruled the ad, shown on Demand 5 video-on-demand channel, was "irresponsible and condoned and encouraged gambling behaviour that could lead to financial, social or emotional harm”.

The advert promoted a direct debit offer for the Health Lottery where consumers could have their first two weeks of play free as a refund from the advertiser if they signed up online and paid for their tickets monthly.

A complaint to ASA challenged whether the advert “condoned or encouraged gambling behaviour that was socially irresponsible or could lead to financial harm”.

In its defence the Health Lottery said the advert was not intended to encourage excessive play and was subject to “strict internal compliance and legal review”.

It also featured the logo.

ASA ruled that the emphasis on the refund was likely to make consumers spend more than they otherwise would have done.

It concluded that the advert must not appear again in its current form and told the Health Lottery to ensure “that their ads in future did not encourage or condone gambling behaviour that could lead to harm”.