Online poker giant PokerStars has been slapped on the wrist by the UK Advertising Standards Authority over a promotion that received multiple player complaints last year.
The offending advertisement was ruled to have implied that players could bluff their way to success. The spot's narrator told viewers, "Here you are, the moment when bluffing is the only way to win, you're freaking out kiddo, but think about all those times you bluffed yourself… Use that talent because if you can bluff yourself, you can bluff anyone."
After the ad was broadcast, the ASA received multiple complaints that the poker firm was making players believe that they could haul in huge prizes exclusively through bluffing, as the player in the ad did. PokerStars objected, noting that bluffing is very important in the success of poker as well as other games, which would translate to playing online.
The ASA disagreed, ruling: "As the ad only showed the player being able to bluff in real life, non-poker related circumstances, and did not imply that they had any other experience of the game, we considered that the ad suggested that players could excel at poker without any previous experience of the game. This, therefore, portrayed gambling behavior that was socially irresponsible."
The ad cannot be aired in its current format, and PokerStars will have to watch their verbiage in any future poker ads.