Badly named casinos are a dime a dozen. Who can forget the likes of Loco Panda, Galaxy Pig, Planet 7, Bumbet, or Win Trillions? Well, stupidity is one thing, but the offensively named Abo Casino surely sets a whole new low.
Now if you have not spent a significant amount of time in Australia, you may well be asking yourself what on Earth am I talking about? Allow me to explain, and please be warned that there will be words quoted in this story that people find racially offensive.
Abo or ab·o: Australian Slang: Extremely Disparaging and Offensive.
noun, plural Ab·os.
1. a contemptuous term used to refer to an Australian Aboriginal person.
USAGE NOTE FOR ABO
Since Abo is simply a shortened form of Aborigine or Aboriginal, one could easily think that it is as neutral and inoffensive a term as Aussie is for an Australian. However, Abo is as highly offensive to Australian Aboriginal people as n__ger is to African Americans in the United States.
Yes. It is that bad.
Now of course I asked my CL colleagues and we wondered if that was the intent of the name at all, if perhaps it is an acronym or supposed to mean something else entirely. To that end we scoured the website for some kind of exculpatory evidence, something that would show that this was all a big misunderstanding, or reveal the real meaning of the name. We drew a blank.
For starters it is safe to say that it is not an acronym. When used in text throughout the site it is printed as "Abo Casino", not all capitals, no full stops between the letters, and no explanation anywhere that it stands for Another Bonus Offer or Amazingly Bad Operation, or something else. The casino's page title bills itself as the "Top Australian Online Casino for Real Money", and presents an Australian language choice that is somehow different from English spoken in the UK, New Zealand, and Canada.
Furthermore, when arriving at the site you are presented with a cartoonish, dark skinned, dreadlocked, war painted man that we'll cautiously describe as "native", who is standing on a beach while holding a wooden staff replete with feathers and animal bones. In addition the colours of the logo of the casino name are remarkably close to two of the three colours present on the Australian Aboriginal Flag.
As difficult as it may be to understand, the bulk of what we found indicates to us that this was intentional. We can only speculate as to why or to what end. To be fair, we cannot rule out naivety or incompetence by some marketing "genius" who thought they were cleverly targeting a segment of the population in a country that they clearly have absolutely no knowledge of. I for one sincerely hope that is the explanation. If so, this must go down in the annals as one of the all time worst marketing mistakes.
We contacted the casino's support department to see what they had to say, and spoke to the lovely Natalie. She was clearly apologetic for something she had no control over:
our developers of our site haven't implied anything offensive while creating the name of it
I will immediately transfer this feedback to our manager for consideration , dear Friend
I'm so sorry for any inconvenience caused 😞
Another time accept my sincere apologies as we don't want to be rude to Australians and hurt anybody's feelings
You be the judge.