When Bingo Friendzy first launched on Facebook offering the first ever real money gaming product there was much speculation and debate about the product. Since the launch in August this year the furore has died down and you rarely see the brand name banded about anymore, that was until yesterday when the Advertising Standards Agency published their adjudication on the Profitable Play product following two complaints.
The complaints were received for the Facebook page headed “Bingo Friendzy – World’s First Real Cash Games on Facebook” and the adverts for the product on this page featuring furry cartoon characters.
The complainants challenged whether the ad was irresponsible because it was likely to be of particular appeal to children but despite investigating the complaints thoroughly under the following CAP codes, they were not upheld and Bingo Friendzy can continue as they were with no further action required.
1.3 – Marketing communications must be prepared with a sense of responsibility to consumers and to society.
16.1 – Marketing communications for gambling must be socially responsible, with particular regard to the need to protect children, young persons and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited.
16.3.12 – exploit the susceptibilities, aspirations, credulity, inexperience or lack of knowledge of children, young persons or other vulnerable persons
Something we didn’t know prior to reading the ASA adjudication is that “both the game itself and any advertising were subject to age-gating, which meant that Facebook blocked the fan pages, all friend posts and the application itself from being visible to those under the age of 18”.
However, we did a little experiment using my daughter’s Facebook account (she is 14). A quick change of certain settings in her account and Bingo Friendzy was available for her to view. Prior to the change, age gating definitely worked as the game was not available to even view for her.
Is age-gating enough to really stop someone under the age of 18 who really wants to gamble enough? In its own right the answer is no but add to it the fact that, like ALL online bingo and gaming sites that offer real cash play, there are certain verification procedures to ensure, to the best of a brands ability, that anyone playing at the site is over the legal age for gambling. If a players identity cannot be verified through the “independent KYC databases then they would not be able to use the application unless official personal identification, such as a passport, was subsequently provided“.
Whilst Bingo Friendzy does has a child like appeal to it, Profitable Play Ltd certainly seem to have put enough safeguards into place to avoid underage gambling.