ASA slap The Health Lottery with a ban
Either way, the Advertising Standards Agency aren't happy with them, banning one of their adverts that promoted an online direct debit offer, as it was found to be irresponsible and encouraged gambling.
The ASA investigation concluded that the ad "was irresponsible and condoned and encouraged gambling behaviour that could lead to financial, social or emotional harm". Hardly good for your health, that.
Basically, the commercial showed a direct debit offer where you could play the Health Lottery for your first two weeks for "free" as a refund from the advertiser if they signed up online and paid for their tickets monthly. The ad continued that the Health Lottery would pay for up to 40 lines in each draw, giving up to £160 back to you!
The Health Lottery weren't having the complaints against it, saying that "player protection measures" stopped direct debit and online players from buying more than 40 tickets for each draw and, in addition to that, they stated that the two draws per week meant a maximum spend of £320 per month.
They argued further that these caps on spending amounts are "rarely seen in the gambling industry, and other lotteries did not automatically impose playing limits on their draw-based games." They also pointed out that their advert featured the gambleaware.co.uk logo.
The ASA agreed that the advert was not intended to encourage excessive play, however, thanks to voice-over and visuals, the commerical "established an upbeat tone and focused on the maximum return".
Basically, the ruling said that this, and the emphasis on the refund which required a cash commitment of £320, was indeed likely to encourage consumers who wouldn't normally spend £40 on a twice weekly draw, to spend more than they would normally. The advert, in the current form, is now banned.