ASA clears Betfair advertisement of being irresponsible

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has cleared a TV ad for Betfair after concerns were raised over whether the decision to focus upon the excitement of a betting experience could be deemed irresponsible.

The ad in question, broadcast on 11 November 2018, showed a young man checking his mobile phone while walking down the pavement and going through what appeared to be a ‘secret’ door leading to a room with a large screen that showed horse racing.

A voice-over stated: “My gut says that horse is something special and my smarts say to back it on the Betfair Exchange where I get bigger returns than if I bet with one of these other bookies. That’s why I go to Betfair. Betfair, where gut instinct meets smarts.”

A complainant challenged the idea that construing the betting experience in this way, “exploits the susceptibilities of young men”, however the regulatory body ruled that there was no breach of advertising rules.

Responding to the complaints, Betfair explained that the advert sought to explain that the operator could offer better value for money in comparison to other bookmakers. The protagonist was not shown to be placing any bets, therefore not implying that gambling had any priority in the man’s life.  

The main character was, according to Clearcast, clearly over the age of 25 and was “portrayed as one of many unremarkable people in a fantastical location designed to be a metaphor for the ‘community’ of customers using the app.”

The operator added that the advertisement did not, in any way, exploit any susceptibilities of under-18s, but rather was attempting to educate its customers about the range of odds available.

Considering the response to the complaints from the operator, the ASA ruled that while they considered the character to be deemed aspirational – in reference to his ‘smarts’ – the decision to place a bet using the Betfair Exchange was deemed to be depicted responsibly.

The ASA ruled that the ad had not breached the advertising code, and that no further action was necessary.

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