Gambling game The Health Lottery banned from running adverts that made 'irresponsible promises of financial security to boost sales'
07:50 GMT, 19 December 2012
Watchdogs have found the Health Lottery guilty of making irresponsible promises of financial security to boost sales
Advertisements promoting the gambling game suggested a winner could pay off their home loan, effectively ending their money troubles.
However, the Gambling Reform & Society Perception Group (GRASP) said it was wrong to promote a lottery on the basis it was a way to clear debts.
The Health Lottery has been banned from running this advert because it suggested a winner could pay off their home loan, effectively ending their money troubles, according to a ruling by the advertising watchdog
Its complaint has been upheld in a ruling published by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) today, which has banned the organisation from running the advert again.
The Health Lottery has come under fire from charities and MPs since its launch last year.
It has been accused of taking unfair advantage of lottery laws that were designed to help local hospices raise money for their vital work.
While less cash from ticket sales goes to good causes compared to other lotteries.
Local hospice lotteries generally give 50p-60p in the pound for the homes and services they support. The figure for Camelot’s Lotto games is 28p in the pound, while the Health Lottery hands out just over 20p in the pound.
The Health Lottery has previously been accused of taking unfair advantage of lottery laws that were designed to help local hospices raise money for their work
As a result, charity campaigners claim the Health Lottery, run by Richard Desmond, the proprietor of the Express titles and Daily Star, dilutes the amount of money reaching good causes.
The advertisement at the centre of the complaint appeared in the Daily Express and carried the headline ‘Mortgage What mortgage’. The Text underneath added: ‘Now two chances to win 100K* …’
The ASA said this approach breached the advertising industry code, which states: ‘Marketing communications must not suggest that participating in a lottery can be a solution to financial concerns … or a way to achieve financial security.’
It said: ‘We considered that because the ad suggested that someone who had won the lottery could pay off their debts, the implication was that participation in the lottery was a way of solving financial concerns or achieving financial security.’
In its defence, the Health Lottery said the ad was part of a series which used the theme of what a winner could do with their windfall.
Others suggested people might buy a villa, take family and friends on holiday or pay for grandchildren to go through university.
It said this was a standard advertising technique and in no way depicted participation in a lottery as a solution to financial concerns or a way to achieve financial security.
The organisation also argued that the top prize of 100,000 was ‘too low to imply financial security’.