Online gambling companies face more advertising complaints

News on 20 Sep 2017

Britain’s Advertising Standards Authority adjudicated and finalised complaints against two online gambling companies this week, criticising Paddy Power but dismissing critics of bet365.

The Paddy Power case involved complaints from the public that the company’s “always bet on black” advertising material associated with the recent Merryweather vs. McGregor fight was racist and offensive.

Paddy Power accepted that the slogan referred to Merryweather’s race but denied that it was offensive, noting that it had been previously used by black movie actor Wesley Snipes in a 1992 film. The gambling group pointed out that Merryweather had himself approved the material, and that he had further posted  on social media a picture of himself wearing PP boxing shorts bearing the slogan.

Whilst the ASA acknowledged that PP had not intended to cause offence, it did question whether the average viewer would associate the slogan with an old movie. In view of the fact that the fight was between two men of different race, the invitation to always bet on black had the potential to cause serious offence, the regulator found, supporting the complaints.

The a complaint against bet365 was not upheld and involved a television advert suggesting that not a single moment goes by when online punters cannot immerse themselves in sport.

The complainant alleged that this concept encouraged excessive gambling, although no betting was depicted in the material, which showed four people using the bet365 streaming services in four different locations.

The ASA ruled that the material “did not portray or encourage gambling behaviour that was socially irresponsible or portray gambling as indispensable or taking priority in life.”

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