Just a short while ago we reported on Jordan Spieth being banned from gambling tweets. It is now the turn of Memphis Depay but for this football player, it’s a ban from emails!
For those of you who don’t know, Memphis Depay is a Dutch player who is currently signed with Manchester United.
The problem is that he is 21 years old and Ladbrokes sent an email on 11th September 2015 that included a picture of Memphis along with the text ‘Money Back Offer – Don’t Miss Out! Bet Now’.
Said email landed in the inbox of someone, and it was just one person who complained to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), who felt that it was irresponsible and breached the Code because of the age of Memphis.
This one complaint led to an investigation by the ASA under the same CAP Codes as those cited in the complaint about Jordan Spieth being used in tweets.
Marketing communications for gambling must be socially responsible, with particular regard to the need to protect children, young persons and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited.
Marketing communications must not:
include a child or a young person. No-one who is, or seems to be, under 25 years old may be featured gambling or playing a significant role. No-one may behave in an adolescent, juvenile or loutish way.
Individuals who are, or seem to be under 25 years old (18-24 years old) may be featured playing a significant role only in marketing communications that appear in a place where a bet can be placed directly through a transactional facility, for instance, a gambling operator’s own website. The individual may only be used to illustrate specific betting selections where that individual is the subject of the bet offered. The image or other depiction used must show them in the context of the bet and not in a gambling context.
Whilst reading the ruling by the ASA we were surprised to find that Ladbrokes simply rolled over! Their response to the complaint pretty much said ‘Yes, we shouldn’t have done it – we are sorry, please forgive us.’
They went on to say how their marketing team had been reminded of their obligations to the CAP Code and their company policy.
The Ruling By The ASA
Needless to say, the ASA were more than happy to accept the grovelling apology but nonetheless, had to stamp their authority and slap the wrists of the very naughty Ladbrokes.
The ad cannot appear again in its current form, at least not until 13th February 2019 when Memphis Depay turns 25.
There are probably hundreds of footballers that are under the age of 25 and many play sporting kits that are emblazoned with gambling brand logos.
- West Ham – Betway
- Stoke City – bet365
- Sunderland – dafabet
- Rangers – 32Red
Yet, to date, there’s not been a complaint to the ASA about Manual Lanzini (on loan to West Ham) appearing on the pitch with a Betway logo on his chest despite the fact that he is only 22 years old.
Hundreds of thousands of people watch the matches with the under 25’s sporting their clubs kit and the gambling brand logo, in comparison with the few that would have received the Ladbrokes email and even considered the age of Memphis Depay.
I’m all for protecting young people from the pitfalls of gambling but once again, I believe that this is a bit of overkill on the part of the ASA and certainly the person who took the time to actually make the complaint!