SBC News ASA lands blow on Betfred for Anthony Joshua social media posts

ASA lands blow on Betfred for Anthony Joshua social media posts

Betfred has been ordered to remove three posts on X, formerly Twitter, featuring heavyweight boxer Anthony Joshua by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) due to the athlete’s extensive social media following.

The ASA had challenged whether the social media ads were in breach of the CAP Code on gambling advertising, which prohibits the use of well-known individuals judged to have ‘strong appeal’ to those under 18.

Posted on Twitter/X in March and April this year, the posts featured three interviewees with the former world champion. The first two were interviews conducted by Dom McGuinness, with one focusing on his then upcoming fight against Jermaine Franklin and the other around how he prepares for fights. 

The last post was a discussion about the boxer’s mentality in the run up to and during a fight, with accompanying text stating “‘I’m going in there with pure confidence because I know the work I’ve done’ There are NO doubts in @AnthonyJoshua’s mind ahead of his fight with Jermaine Franklin! Full interview #JoshuaFranklin”.

In its response to the ASA’s challenge, Petfre (Gibraltar) Ltd – the registered name of Betfred – noted that boxing is classed as an ‘adult-oriented sport’ in CAP guidelines, with most high-profile fights, such as those involving Joshua, often shown late at night and viewable by a pay-per-view system.

Previous rulings have seen the ASA side with operators in this regard. For example, the authority ruled in favour of bet365 when the firm published social media content featuring the boxers Chris Eubank Jr and Liam Smith.

However, in the case of Joshua, the ASA judged that the Watford-born fighter had a much higher profile than the boxers listed above, as well as a more extensive social media following among younger demographics.

In its defence, Betfred asserted that Joshua is fighting towards the end of his career and so his ‘star’ power has dropped, and that his brand deals with Armour, Beats By Dre and JD Sports have universal appeal, not just to under-18s.

Looking at his social media following, the bookmaker cited that 0% of his Twitter/X, Facebook and TikTok followers are registered as between 13 and 17 and only 5% of his Snachat and 6.6% of Instagram followers are minors. 

Overall, the boxer has 29.3 million worldwide social media followers of which 1.1 million, or 3.85%, are under-18, and that his UK-specific social media presence can be narrowed down to 7.2 million followers of which it is believed ‘approximately 280,000’ were under-18.

Despite this, in its own assessment of his social media following, the ASA decided that 280,000 ‘was still a significant number in absolute terms’. 

The authority also judged that although some commercial partners – fellow bookmaker Wiliam Hill and car manufacturer Land Rover, for example – were adult-oriented brands, others such as Under Armour, Beats By Dre and JD Sports could be seen as having more appeal to younger consumers.

Lastly, as mentioned above, the ASA maintained that Joshua’s status as a former two-time WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight World Champion meant that he would have a stronger appeal to under-18 audiences than other less known boxers.

Betfred was told to remove the tweets in question, and also ordered that the ads must ‘not appear again in their current form, having breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 16.1, 16.3 and 16.3.12 (Gambling).

Check Also

SBC News BetMGM and Chris Rock ad ruled in line with UK ASA code

BetMGM and Chris Rock ad ruled in line with UK ASA code

BetMGM’s launch in the UK has attracted some criticism directed to the Advertising Standards Authority …

SBC News LeoVegas brand BetUK asked by the ASA to take down betting ad

LeoVegas brand BetUK asked by the ASA to take down betting ad

The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has issued its response to two recent cases of …

SBC Leaders Issue 29

SBC Leaders magazine: Sky Betting & Gaming still thinking big

Sky Betting & Gaming may be sitting at the very top of the UK gambling …