Games on a gambling website named Fairytale Legends and Fairies Forest have been banned for the likelihood that they would appeal to children.
The m88.com website promoted the three games – Fairytale Legends Red Riding Hood, Fairytale Legends Hansel and Gretel, and Fairies Forest – in January, with the games featuring animated images of a wolf, a pixie and a fairy in a forest.
The Fairer Gambling campaign complained that the content of the three ads was likely to be of particular appeal to children.
ProgressPlay, trading as m88.com, responded to the complaint by making the games accessible only after members logged into their account and modified them to remove all images of fairies and “any other unsuitable character”.
However, m88.com said the games were produced by a third party software company and appeared on other websites run by different gambling operators.
Advertising rules state that gambling ads must not be likely to be of particular appeal to children or young people, especially by reflecting or being associated with youth culture.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said it welcomed the interim action taken by m88.com in response to the complaint.
The ASA noted that Fairytale Legends Red Riding Hood was based on the children’s fairytale Little Red Riding Hood and included an animated picture of a wolf and a fairy, and the Hansel And Gretel game featured a moonlit forest with gameplay stars and gambling coins.
It said: “We considered that fairies were highly popular with young children, particularly young girls. Furthermore, we noted that the wolf was heavily stylised with exaggerated facial features and included a long muzzle, big eyes and a prominent nose.
“We considered that the physical appearance of the wolf resembled similar characters from films and TV programmes aimed at under-18s, particularly children.”
The Fairies Forest game showed an animated image of a fairy in a forest with brightly coloured flowers around the name of the game.
The ASA concluded that all three games were likely to be of particular appeal to children and ruled that they must not appear again in their current form.
In a separate ruling following another set of complaints by Fairer Gambling, six games appearing on the fun88.co.uk and letou.co.uk websites have also been banned over their potential appeal to children.
The games featured animated images of birds, a young-looking girl and a dragon, a pixie, a castle and a princess, a girl with long blonde hair, and a polar bear wearing a Santa hat, a polar bear cub, two penguins and a rabbit.
TGP Europe said the games had been removed before it received details of the complaint, but also said they were produced by a third party software company and appeared on other websites run by different gambling operators.
TGP said that assessing whether a gambling ad had particular appeal to under-18s was “highly subjective”, adding that it believed the themes of castles and dragons were currently popular because of a “famous TV programme series aimed at adults”.
The ASA said the ads featured animated images which were likely to be of particular appeal to under-18s and were marketing gambling products, and therefore breached advertising rules.