Celebrities Endorsing Bingo Sites: Fun or Dangerous?

Celebrity product endorsement is not necessarily a new concept, but over the past several years it has truly become a phenomenon, particularly within the online bingo community. There are many people who are opposed to this and even go as far as labelling these endorsements and celebrity bingo adverts as dangerous. Does the motivation behind the endorsement change your opinion? Or how the celebrity was already perceived in the media before the advertising deal? Here, we have chosen a few examples to discuss of celebrities in recent years who have chosen to back online bingo sites. We’re looking at their motivation for doing so, the public’s reaction, gambling responsibly and whether this is, in fact, dangerous to the public.

Mel B for Costa Bingo

Mel B, or as she is more commonly known as Scary Spice, is the Spice Girl who packs a punch with her forceful attitude and in January 2014 starred in a Costa Bingo TV Ad. Bingo Adverts on TV have become increasingly common, and celebrity endorsements are needed to make them stand out from the crowd.

Like we mentioned before, there are many different reasons as to why some celebrity endorsements are viewed as positive, whilst others are perceived as negative. The Mel B Costa Bingo advertisement was received well at the time, but the singer was at the time popular with the public as she was appearing on the well-known British television programme The X Factor, which majorly boosted her popularity.

There did not seem to be any negative media backlash for her involvement, however, the comment sections do tell a different story as the majority of comments were not supportive and criticised Mel for being ‘money hungry,’ suggesting they do not buy into Mel being an avid Costa Bingo player and brand her involvement as dangerous to those she is convincing to gamble.

Peter Andre for Wink Bingo

The Peter Andre Wink Bingo campaign, on the other hand, was a media and public success and generated much more positive connotations with gambling than negative. This could be due to the fact that not only is Peter Andre a likeable celebrity but that percentage of the money was going to Cancer Research UK, which Peter had been directly affected by after the loss of his brother from kidney cancer.

The media and public opinion do seem to change depending on the celebrity motivation. Mel B’s appearance was perceived as purely encouraging people to gamble for her own profit, in comparison to Peter’s encouragement to gamble whilst simultaneously aiding a charitable cause. The public definitely does seem to differentiate between these two advertisements, however, both are still technically promoting gambling and could be seen as dangerous.

Kerry Katona Controversy

Kerry Katona is a celebrity who is well known in the British media for always being the centre of another controversy and she has famously filed twice for bankruptcy. While launching her new bingo site Bingo with Kerry in recent months, she has come under immense fire from both the media and public over her decision to encourage gambling. But what makes her case so different to Peter Andre’s?

Why so Controversial?

As someone who has faced money difficulties in the past, many were surprised to hear Kerry was fronting a bingo site and encourage others to gamble with their money. Gambling therapist Liz Karter described this behaviour as “very dangerous for women seeing her as the friendly face of a bingo site.”

Many impressionable girls and mums alike, who are familiar with Kerry may be easily persuaded to join this pink and girly site, without fully realising the financial risks of their gaming. It is interesting, however, that Kerry is slammed for her bingo site involvement, yet Mel B and Peter Andre received very little media criticism when doing exactly the same thing, encouraging others to partake in online gambling.

Can Online Bingo Be Considered Dangerous if you Gamble Safely?

There are always risks to everything and gambling is no exception, however, players can drastically minimise any dangerous gambling. Take note of these tips:

  • Bet only what you can afford and always make sure to check your bank account before gambling
  • Only gamble when you are in a positive mindset, gambling when you are upset can make you spend more
  • Know when the right time is to stop
  • Don’t drink and gamble as playing under the influence usually means you will spend more than you have
  • Don’t gamble alone, always make sure there is a responsible person to keep you in check

Is it Inherently Wrong for a Celebrity to Endorse Online Bingo?

People can tell when celebrities are being disingenuous and do not truly value and appreciate a product.

Moral Obligation?

The majority of players do spend their money responsibility and is simply a fun past time, so it is unfair to label an entire group of people as being extremely impressionable to celebrity endorsements, in the same way that the majority of the country can drink responsibility. It does seem to depend on the type of personality you have and if you know you are susceptible to online gambling or have an addictive personality, it would already be advisable for you to stay clear of online gambling sites.

Public Reaction

In terms of the public reaction, it does seem to depend on the context of the situation as to whether a celebrity endorsement is viewed as dangerous or not. Mel B’s advert was not viewed as dangerous as Kerry Katona’s. However, some members of the public did voice their disapproval. This was also mainly due to the fact that people can usually tell when a celebrity is being disingenuous and does not truly value and appreciate a product, rather than simply promoting gambling.

In contrast, Kerry’s public reaction which was viewed as ‘dangerous.’ This may be due to the fact that her own personal financial issues are clearly a factor in her choice to endorse the brand. Someone with financial and mental health issues is unlikely to be the best model for a bingo player. It makes fans worry for a vulnerable person, and protecting vulnerable people from gambling-related pitfalls is a top priority for the UK Gambling Commission.

Peter Andre’s charitable motivation is positively received and not at all thought of as ‘dangerous.’

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