British Airways Under Fire for Glamorising Gambling

British Airways
British Airways, the UK’s national airline, is being bombarded with criticism from all sides after having featured a happy couple winning a cash windfall whilst playing pokies in one of their promotional advertisements. The airline is now being accused of having cast an overly glamorous sheen on gambling. Politicians, anti-gambling activists and social media users have shown up in their drones on social media pages, condemning the actions of BA.

The advertisement, which is part of a promo-campaign by British Airways Holidays, a travel insurance division of the airline, is a relatively short one and has been on air in the United Kingdom since January 7.

A couple is depicted leaving a swimming pool. On their way to their hotel room, they take a short detour and decide to play pokies. In the ad, they tell the story of how they initially played with only a couple of dollars. They relate how they won some money, and decided to re-invest the funds by playing some more, after which they won a £387 cash prize.

The advertisement ends with them exclaiming that they must have just experienced the luckiest dip ever; a statement which now seems to have half of England’s Internet hot under the collar.

Conservative Smith: It’s Appalling

Former leader of the Conservative Party, one Ian Duncan Smith, has described the advertisement as nothing short of appalling and has declared that he plans to bring the matter to the attention of the MP’s. GambleAware, a charity working towards improved social responsibility, noted that the ad failed to display the usual warnings about problem gambling behaviour, which was something that all conventional casino operators were required to do when airing any form of advertising.

According to the CEO of GambleAware, Marc Etches, people need to be made aware of the dangers of problem gambling, and the companies advertising their services and products must be mindful of their responsibility towards viewers of the advertisements.

The Flip-Side

Whilst people’s reaction to the BA advertisement may seem extreme, one has to consider the fact that around 400,000 of the country’s citizens are considered to be full-on addicted to gambling, and a staggering 2 million people living in the UK are problem gamblers. The situation is so dire that government has started to fund special clinics where people are able to go to seek treatment.