The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has ruled in favour of bet365 regarding a tweet from the bookmaker featuring professional boxer Chris Eubank Jr.
bet365’s tweet ahead of Eubank’s clash against Liam Smith at the Manchester Arena on 21 January 2023 was examined to determine if it would have a strong appeal to young people.
The tweet in question read “It’s fight week! Chris Eubank Jr and Liam Smith will be Unleashed in Manchester. Click here for latest odds”.
Bookmakers are not permitted to use professional athletes deemed to have a strong appeal to young people in marketing material under the Committee on Advertising Practice (CAP) code. Different athletes are ranked as low, moderate or high risk according to the code.
Regarding the consumer appeal of middleweight and super-middleweight fighter Eubank, bet365 noted that boxing is a more ‘adult-oriented sport’ than others, such as football which has a much wider appeal. Eubank Jr therefore falls in the low or moderate risk CAP category, the bookmaker asserted.
Additionally, bet365 cited viewing figures for the fight and the demographic makeup of the audience. Of the 345,000 viewers, no under-24s viewed it and the largest demographic was aged between 35 and 34, whilst only 0.5% of YouTube viewers were under 18 and the largest viewing demographic on the platform was 25-44.
A breakdown of Eubank Jr’s social media following showed that just 0.1% of his Facebook followers, 0.3% of his Twitter followers and 0.4% of his Instagram followers were aged under 18. The boxer does not have a public YouTube account.
Whilst his account on TikTok had a higher number of under-18s at 31.7% – somewhat unsurprising given the platform’s popularity with this demographic – bet365 does not have a presence on the app and therefore none of the boxer’s followers would see its content.
The ASA explained: “They also said the majority of his followers were split across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and of his total follower count, 0.6% were registered as under 18.”
Lastly, on Eubank Jr’s appeal, bet365 noted that whilst the boxer has appeared on Celebrity Gogglebox, this programme can be considered low risk as it is aired after 9pm and has been described by the ASA itself in previous rulings as “primarily aimed at an adult audience”.
bet365 also asserted to the ASA that its campaigns were targeted only to social media users aged 25 years and over and that it has ‘robust processes’ including reviewing all individuals and content across its channels. Individuals deemed high risk – such as European top-flight footballers – are automatically excluded from its marketing.
The ASA concluded in favour of bet365, summarising that Eubank Jr competes within an adult oriented sport and that his boxing and social media activity subsequently has an appeal to those over 24.
Previous rulings this year have seen the ASA take a tougher stance against certain bookmakers. kwiff was warned for an ad on a Portsmouth FC webpage which was seen as exposing young followers of the club to betting content, and BetVictor was criticised for an ad featuring FC Barcelona players.
On the other hand, a Christmas 2022 advertising campaign by Flutter Entertainment brands Sky Bet and Paddy Power featuring Peter Crouch and Micah Richards was backed by the ASA.
The authority assessed that as former professional footballers and current pundits, the ex-athletes in question did not have a strong appeal to young audiences.