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ASA Reverse Decision On Sky Bet Ruling Of March 2019


10 Jul 2019

Earlier this year we covered a ruling from the Advertising Standards Authority on a Sky Bet advert that aired on television in August 2018 [read more here].

In the commercial football presenter, Jeff Stelling was seen promoting the Sky Bet product, Request A Bet. There were not one, but two complaints about the advert and both felt that it was irresponsible because it suggested that those with a good knowledge of sport would be able to gamble successfully.

The complaints were upheld and Sky Bet were told not to show the commercial again in the same format. Sky Bet appealed the decision and it would appear it went to an independent review.

ASA Overturn Original Ruling

Yesterday the ASA published a new ruling for the same advert that, in effect, overturned the original! The U-turn has happened because of the independent review and now the ASA has found that the Request A Bet commercial was in fact NOT in breach of the two BCAP Codes that it was originally banned for!

BCAP 17.3
Advertisements must not:

BCAP 17.3.1
portray, condone or encourage gambling behaviour that is socially irresponsible or could lead to financial, social or emotional harm

What had us scratching our heads is that nothing has changed in the actual ad, yet the decision is different. We cannot reference the original ruling as this appears to have been removed from the ASA pages.

Sky Bet had already argued that in the whole commercial there were only two references to knowledge – the ‘Spark your sports brain’ and ‘How big is your sports noggin?’ They also referenced that they used the phrase ‘anything can happen in sport’.

In the new ruling, the ASA said that this phrase ‘explicitly recognised the uncertain nature of sporting outcomes.’ For this reason, they concluded that the ad was actually NOT socially irresponsible or in breach of the code!

You can read the full new Sky Bet ASA ruling here.