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Bet365 has been rapped by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) after the body ruled an ad from the operator had particular appeal to under-18s.
The complaint concerned a tweet published by Sky Sports Premier League’s Twitter account, which was promoted by Bet365. It was published in February 2023.
The tweet featured an ad that was added as part of Twitter’s Amplify feature. This feature places ads before the tweet’s video content begins playing.
The ad depicted a footballer kicking a ball from a corner. The Bet365 logo was positioned where the ball has been kicked. It then featured footage of a match between Arsenal and Manchester United, and showed Granit Xhaka scoring a goal.
The ASA challenged whether this ad would appeal to those under the age of 18.
Bet365: controls existed to ensure only over 25s targeted
Defending the ad, Bet365 said controls existed to make sure “their Amplify content would only be promoted to users over 25 years of age and above”.
Bet365 also held that no one with a strong appeal to under-18s were featured in the pre-roll advertising, referring to Xhaka. The operator said that 0.2% of all accounts following the Sky Sports Premier League’s Twitter account were under 18.
Bet365 also pointed out the length of the ad, which was five seconds. It compared this to the main video content, which was 21 seconds long.
Upon assessing Xhaka’s social media following, Bet365 noted that on Instagram, 0.4% of his audience demographic were under-18.On TikTok, this number was 32.3%.
Twitter said the tweet did not breach its ad policies.
ASA considered pre-roll ad and tweet to be same content
Although Bet365 stressed that the pre-roll ad was separate to the tweet’s main content, the ASA considered them as one entity due to Bet365’s sponsorship deal with Sky Sports Premier League. The fact that Bet365 promoted the tweet was an aggravating factor.
The ASA ruled that Bet365 had infringed its CAP code, which outlines rules for marketing in the UK. Specifically, it infringed the section titled Gambling and lotteries: Protecting under-18s.
The ASA said that Xhaka would have been recognised by children at the time the ad was posted, due to being a player at Arsenal. In addition, he is captain of the Swiss national team.
The ad must not appear again in this form.
Last week, the ASA upheld a complaint regarding a Ladbrokes ad, which was ruled to appeal to under-18s. This was the third time the ASA had to take action regarding Ladbrokes ads since July.
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