Every Wednesday the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) publish their rulings for the week. Over the last few months we have seen a reduction in the number of gambling sites showing up in the list.
Yesterday though, Sky Bet (Bonne Terre Ltd) saw their name published for an upheld complaint against a TV commercial that aired back in August 2018.
The advert in question was promoting their Request A Bet service and featured football presenter Jeff Stelling. Two complaints were received and both challenged whether the commercial was irresponsible because it implied that people with a good knowledge of sport could gamble successfully.
The Sky Bet Ad
We’ve not seen the advert ourselves but the description of it listed in the ruling on the ASA website here describes it as follows:
“The football presenter Jeff Stelling said, “Forget ‘anything can happen’, in sport anything does happen. But could it be better? With Request a Bet it could. Spark your sports brain and roll all the possibilities into one bet. Three red cards, seven corners, five goals: lets price that up. Or browse hundreds of request a bets on our app. The possibilities are humongous. How big is your sports noggin? Sky Bet, Britain’s most popular online bookmaker. When the fun stops, stop.” A large screen behind the presenter featured various odds and statistics as well as a graphic of brain waves emanating from his head.“
Sky Bet defended their advert in their response and said that there were only two references to knowledge. The first was ‘Spark your sports brain’ and the second being ‘how big is your sports noggin?’. There was also reference to how ‘anything can happen in sport’.
They also explained that customers use a number of different parameters when building their bets, and that it was likely they would use their own knowledge of a specific sport in order to do that. They continued by saying that knowledge of any sport would, on the whole, increase the chances of placing a winning bet and that many sports betting customers do research and study sports in such a way that they have an ‘edge’ over a bookmaker.
The Ruling Against Sky Bet
Despite their response, Sky Bet’s advert was found to breach two BCAP codes as shown below, and therefore cannot be shown in the same form.
They were advised to ensure that any future commercials did not condone, or encourage, gambling behaviour that was socially irresponsible.
Advertisements must not:
portray, condone or encourage gambling behaviour that is socially irresponsible or could lead to financial, social or emotional harm
Like many of the complaints we have seen over the years against gambling operators, this one looks a little like locking the stable after the horse has bolted!