The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has issued a warning to kwiff after an advert for the operator’s casino offering appeared in a Portsmouth FC news article about the club’s younger supporters.
Specifically, the ad was for the Book of Dead slot game, promoting free spins offers and an ‘18+ new customers only’ accompanying text, and was featured in a news article about Portsmouth FC ‘junior blues’.
Eaton Gate Gaming, which trades as Kwiff, responded to the ASA’s challenge arguing that the advert was displayed in the Portsmouth FC news section, and not in the junior blues membership pages or on any other platform targeting children and young people.
In its defence of the marketing material, kwiff also stated that behavioural targeting and data technology ensured that the content was viewed based on a viewer’s online behaviour.
The group stated that its targeting was a ‘precise and accurate tool used to get a maximum return on ad spending and so limited underage viewing’, according to the ASA’s statement.
As such, the visibility of the ad depended on the age, location and interests of Portsmouth FC website users, and excluded under 18s.
Tracking data also showed that 33 online users had interacted with the ad and all had passed age-verification, although kwiff acknowledged that ‘there was a small chance that ads could be seen by minors’.
The bookmaker added that an ‘important point’ to note was that the Portsmouth FC website is not specifically targeted at children, as with the news section.
However, the ASA disagreed with kwiff’s defence of the ad, arguing that the content “was of immediate interest to young people as it exclusively related to services aimed at under 18s”.
It was added that this “was compounded” by the inclusion of the Portsmouth FC mascot, in cartoon form, on an accompanying image.
Due to the smattering of membership options available, as well as making a specific reference to those aged 18 and over, the ASA ruled that this distinction indicated that the page “was primarily directed at readers under 18”.
The ASA added that those within the age bracket “could either use the article as a starting point to engage parents or relatives to become a member or for older children go on to buy the membership directly from the website”.
In its conclusion, the ASA stated that the ad had not complied with rules on gambling marketing due to the wider context of club webpage, and reminded kwiff that future marketing should not be directed at those aged below 18 via media this demographic are likely to use.
The warning is the third ASA decision relating to gambling marketing of this year, following a reprimand of BetVictor for an ad featuring FC Barcelona players and a ruling in favour of Paddy Power against a complaint regarding the bookmaker’s 2022 Christmas campaign.