ASA launches Russia 2018 betting probe investigating new CAP breaches

The UK Advertising Standards Association (ASA) has launched a probe examining the number of gambling/betting related TV adverts broadcast during the FIFA Russia 2018 World Cup.

The month-long football tournament saw 115 complaints filed with ASA, as UK viewers expressed concerns relating to the high proportion of gambling adverts served during Russia 2018 TV programming.

ASA officials will review whether industry Russia 2018 TV adverts breached the new guidance of the advertising code of practice (CAP) with regards to bookmakers offering ‘improved odds over a short period of time’ (bet boosts, enhanced odds, etc).

New provisions introduced to the UK CAP prohibit betting operators from offering ‘urgent calls to action’ or ‘limited time offers’ on betting markets.

“Restrict advertisements’ that create an inappropriate sense of urgency like those including “Bet Now!” offers during live events details the new CAP guidance.

Reviewing all World Cup TV advertising content (1,300 terrestrial adverts), UK newspaper The Guardian reports that betting adverts had the highest output during Russia 2018 programming.

In its report, the newspaper details that betting content contributed to 17% of Russia 2018 advertising content, ‘roughly one minute in every six, with the 172 betting spots combined lasting nearly the length of a football match.’

Despite launching its probe on Russia 2018 advertising, ASA has not indicated whether it will review its current UK advertising framework with regards to betting content.

At present, UK advertising legislation allows sports betting adverts to be shown five minutes before the start of play until five minutes after the sports event has ended, between the hours of 5 am – 8:30pm.

The high proportion of betting related adverts screened during Russia 2018 has led to a number of UK ministers calling for betting services to be placed as UK post-watershed (9pm) advertising content.

“One of the only downsides to this brilliant World Cup has been the bombardment of gambling advertising on TV and social media that thousands of children will have been exposed to” detailed Labour Party Deputy Leader Tom Watson.

As a key operating period for all industry stakeholders, UK marketing news source The Drum details that bookmakers paid as much ‘as £350,000 for a 30-second placement’.

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