Daniel Williams

UK Advertising Regulator Takes Down bet365 Twitter Ad for Being Irresponsible

Today, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) published a ruling against bet365 as part of a wider piece of regulation of gambling adverts which, under enhanced rules, are not allowed to target those under 18 or be of strong appeal to minors. The advertising regulatory body of the country reported that an ad published by Hillside (UK Sports) ENC, trading as bet365, was challenged for investigation after intelligence provided by the watchdog’s Active Ad Monitoring system claimed that the company may be breaching the rules.

As revealed by the ASA, a publication from the official account of Sky Sports Premier League on Twitter (now X) and promoted by bet365, which was seen this February, contained an embedded video that eventually showed footage from a football match between the teams of Manchester United F.C. and Arsenal F.C., and depicted Granit Xhaka scoring a goal. Then, it displayed the score of the fixture over the video.

The advertising regulator of the UK challenged whether the advert included a popular individual who was likely to be found appealing by children, and therefore violated the Code.

Gambling Giant bet365 Says the Advert Does Not Target Under-18s

The online gambling operator responded to the accusations, saying that the tweet was published as part of the integration process of the official sponsorship of bet365 with Sky Sports Premier League by using a feature called Twitter Amplify. The company explained that the Amplify feature placed advertisers’ ads before the tweet’s main video content, which was produced by the publisher – Sky Sports Premier League.

Apart from that, bet365 explained that the content in the tweet’s body and the main video was produced by Sky Sports, so both the video content and the tweet of the publisher were separate from the bet365 part of the tweet.

The British online gambling giant shared that under the existing rules applicable to the Amplify feature, the content published under that feature had to be promoted only to users over the age of 25. As checked by bet365, only 0.2% of the followers of Sky Sports Premier League’s Twitter account were under-18s. Furthermore, the company explained that it made sure that the pre-roll advertising included no individuals who may be of strong appeal to children, and the bet365 part of the video ran for just five seconds, while the advertiser’s part of the video ran for much longer – 21 seconds.

Once again, the company reiterated that the advert was specifically targeting individuals over 25 years of age and believed that the material was not shown to anyone under that age.

The ASA Finds the Gambling Company’s Advert Inappropriate

The Advertising Standards Authority investigated the complaint, and confirmed that the controversial tweet was published as part of an advertising campaign carried out in line with bet365’s official sponsorship agreement with Sky Sports Premier League.

The authority reminded that the current CAP Code rules required companies and advertisers to make sure their marketing communications for gambling products and services are not likely to be found appealing by children or young persons.

The regulator estimated that the presence of UK footballers who played for top-tier clubs was considered riskier when it comes to how likely these persons were to be of strong appeal to minors. In this sense, the inclusion of Granit Xhaka, who played for Arsenal F.C. at the time, would significantly increase the risk of making the advert particularly appealing to the club’s fans, many of whom are under the age of 18.

The ASA concluded that the advert was irresponsible and therefore breached CAP Code rules 16.1, 16.3, and 16.3.12 in regard to gambling. The body said that the advert must not appear in its current form anymore and warned bet365 to make sure that no persons or characters who had a strong appeal to children and young people should be included in their ads.

Olivia Cole

Olivia Cole has worked as a journalist for several years now. Over the last couple of years she has been engaged in writing about a number of industries and has developed an interest for the gambling market in the UK.

Daniel Williams

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