ASA bans Sky Bet ad after deeming it irresponsible

A Sky Bet advert broadcast on 30 August 2018 has been banned by the Advertising Standards Agency after being deemed socially irresponsible.

The advert, fronted by Sky Sports presenter Jeff Stelling, promoted the operator’s “request a bet” service to customers which would allow punters to place a combination of bets throughout a football match.

In the advert, Stelling says: “Forget ‘anything can happen’, in sport anything does happen. But could it be better? With Request a Bet it could. Spark your sports brain and roll all the possibilities into one bet.

“Three red cards, seven corners, five goals: lets price that up. Or browse hundreds of request a bets on our app. The possibilities are humongous. How big is your sports noggin? Sky Bet, Britain’s most popular online bookmaker. When the fun stops, stop.”

The advertising watchdog received two complaints from individuals who challenged the idea that it was socially irresponsible due to its implication that individuals with thorough sports knowledge were likely to experience gambling success.

Sky Bet was found to have breached BCAP Code rules 17.3 for its creation of “an unrealistic perception of the level of control consumers would have over betting success”.

The ASA responded to the advertisement, upholding the ruling. The ruling detailed: “The ad contained a number of references to the role of sports knowledge in betting, such as “spark your sports brain” and “how big is your sports noggin”.

“It also included a well-known sports presenter, who viewers would recognise as having a particular expertise in sports, and on-screen graphics used to depict brain waves and various odds.

“The ASA considered that, taking all those elements into account, the ad placed strong emphasis on the role of sports knowledge in determining betting success. We acknowledged it was the case that those with knowledge of a particular sport may be more likely to experience success when betting.

“We considered that the ad gave an erroneous perception of the extent of a gambler’s control over betting success, by placing undue emphasis on the role of sports knowledge.

“We considered that this gave consumers an unrealistic and exaggerated perception of the level of control they would have over the outcome of a bet and that could lead to irresponsible gambling behaviour.”

Gambling operators have previously come under fire for the promotion of gambling services during TV advertisements. The Committees of Advertising Practice, as a result, released a number of additional restrictions upon gambling advertisements in February 2018 especially restricting those that use celebrities and sports stars in their promotions.

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