Earlier this month, Party Poker was forced to withdraw a print advertisement found in a magazine after an adjudication by the UK’s Advertising Standards Agency (ASA). The ad copy read, “PLAYERS WIN MORE AT PARTYPOKER”, and “Play for a $2m guaranteed prize pool … find out why more people love to win at PartyPoker.com*.” The asterisk pointed to a note that the claim was based on a May 2008 survey of 10,000 regular poker players by Poker Player Research Ltd (PPR).
PartyGaming, owner of Party Poker, told the ASA that respondents to the survey were asked at which site they win the most money playing cash games and at which site they had the most success in Sit-and-Go tournaments. Because Party Poker came out on top, the company felt it was justified in saying that “players win more” at Party Poker. PartyGaming said that it consulted with the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP), part of the ASA, and that the CAP approved the claim.
The ASA ruled against PartyGaming, saying, in part:
The ASA noted the survey data submitted by PartyGaming were the results of an opinion poll. We considered that the claim “PLAYERS WIN MORE AT PARTYPOKER” was a factual claim capable of objective substantiation We noted the ad stated “Play for a $2m guaranteed prize pool …” and considered that readers were likely to infer that they could win more money playing at PartyPoker.com than at other sites.
The statement continued by saying that there needed to be concrete evidence that players had actually won more money at Party Poker than at other poker rooms.
As for the “more people love to win at PartyPoker.com” claim, the ASA nixed this because it is strictly an opinion indirectly drawn from the PPR survey results. Nowhere in the survey did PPR actually ask respondents what their favorite online poker room was. PartyGaming simply assumed that since more people were apparently winning at Party Poker than at other sites, that it would be the favorite room of most players, too.
Amazingly, the ASA struck down the advertisement after only one single, solitary complaint was lodged. That’s all it took. To this writer, it all seems very nitpicky. I can agree that the “more people love to win at PartyPoker.com” claim was a bit irresponsible if the PPR survey never asked people where they liked to play the most, but the rest is just silly. There can’t be more than a handful of people who are going to register accounts at Party Poker simply because a magazine ad said that “PLAYERS WIN MORE” at Party Poker. This is poker, not slots. Those attracted by vague claims like that are going to be attracted by anything – the content of the ad does not really matter. The harm done by this ad is miniscule and the idea that someone complained is bizarre.
PartyGaming is forbidden from running the ad in its current state, although it may re-run it if any statements made are more accurate. No other punishment was handed out by the ASA. PartyGaming did not plan on running the ad again, but it does plan on continuing to use information collected in the PPR survey in future ads until newer data is collected.
PartyGaming is not the first online gambling company to run afoul of the ASA. Most recently, Ladbrokes was required to remove two television commercials from the air. The commercials depicted people doing wildly risky things and suggested that had they known about Ladbrokes, they would have been able to satisfy their thrill-seeking tendencies in a safer way. Despite the obvious over-the-top humor, the ASA ruled that the commercials inappropriately associated gambling with toughness and recklessness.

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