Watchdog bites over ‘under age’ Betfair ad

Online betting company Betfair has had an email ad pulled by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

The ad featured a photo of Annette Obrestad, a 20-year-old poker player, complete with the strapline: “Online experience is measured in games, not years. Join the new breed”.

Following an investigation, the ASA has ruled the ad to be in breach of the British Code of Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing (the CAP code) in two places.

First, because no one under the age of 25 years of age should be featured gambling in a marketing communication, or playing a significant role.

Second, because given Obrestad’s online handle – Annette_15 – together with the “online experience…” text, it implied the player was even younger than 20.

In light of this, the ASA felt the ad was likely to have “particular appeal to children and young people” and “could encourage young people to gamble”.

Betfair defended the ad given the media used to distribute it and the technical measures they used to prevent children and young people from using their site. It also assured the ASA that Obrestad was used “not because of her age but because of her standing as a professional poker player”.

However, the ASA concluded that “the ad must not appear again in its current form” and told Betfair to ensure that no one who was, or seemed to be, under 25 years old appeared gambling, or playing a significant role, in their ads in future.

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