ASA v Ladbrokes (2017) - Case Summary

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Modified: 22nd Feb 2024
Wordcount: 631 words


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Legal Case Summary

Summary: Legal Case Summary: ASA found Ladbrokes’ online promotion of ‘Iron Man 3’ game breaching advertising rules, misleading and inappropriate for children.


In 2017, Ladbrokes Betting & Gaming Ltd, running an online betting and gaming business, carried out a promotion of the ‘Iron Man 3’ game on their website. The promotion was part of an advertisement for the Iron Man 3-themed slot machines, featuring graphics from the Iron Man comic strip.

The case arose after Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) discovered that the promotion was displayed on an unrestricted area of their website and could thus be accessible by children. There was concern that this game may be appealing specifically to children due to its association with a popular superhero.



The main issue was whether Ladbrokes, by promoting a themed slot machine in an unrestricted part of their website, breached the CAP Code rules on responsible advertising (CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 16.1).

More specifically, the issue was whether the web ads, which featured images from Iron Man, were effectively marketing gambling to children. It was questioned whether such an advertisement was irresponsible and likely to lead to the financial, social or emotional harm of children and young persons.



Legal implications

This case further reaffirmed the interpretation of CAP Code rules and solidified the necessity for betting and gaming companies like Ladbrokes to strictly abide by specific standards when preparing advertisements. More than anything, it emphasised on the need for marketing materials to serve the welfare of children and protect them from early exposure to gambling.


The Ladbrokes' ruling impacted both betting industries and creators of adverts since they all had to ensure compliance with CAP Code rules. It reshaped the guidelines and pushed for greater scrutiny of advertising materials, especially if they could potentially attract children.


ASA ruling

ASA ultimately ruled that Ladbrokes had indeed breached the CAP Code rules. ASA noted that the ad was created in a way that was likely to be particularly appealing to children and young persons. The images and references from Iron Man were recognised as a popular culture associated with youth and were deemed inappropriate for use in promoting betting and gaming.

As a result, ASA invoked sanctions against Ladbrokes, ordering the ad's removal and banning its use in the future unless it is appropriately targeted.



  • Advertising Standards Authority (2017). ASA Ruling on Ladbrokes Betting & Gaming Ltd. Retrieved from:

Journalist Brief

In 2017, Ladbrokes Betting & Gaming Ltd faced sanctions from the Advertising Standards Authority for an online promotion that was judged likely to appeal to children. The ad in question featured Iron Man, a popular comic book character, which was employed in promoting Ladbrokes’ ‘Iron Man 3’ slot machine. The ad was displayed in an unrestricted area of the website, making it accessible to children. ASA ruled that this act breached the rules on responsible advertising, and consequently ordered Ladbrokes to remove the ad and restrict any future ads of such nature.


Who is the defendant in this case?

Answer: The defendant in this case is Ladbrokes Betting & Gaming Ltd.

What was the ruling of the case?

Answer: The ASA ruled that Ladbrokes had breached the CAP Code rules on responsible advertising, banning and demanding removal of the controversial ad.

What is the major impact of this case?

Answer: The case marked a stricter application of CAP Code rules around marketing gambling to children, pushing for greater scrutiny of advertising materials in the betting and gaming industry.

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