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UK – Sky Bet ad banned for linking betting success with intelligence

By - 16 March 2019

The Advertising Standards Agency in the UK has banned a TV ad from Sky Bet, with football presenter Jeff Stelling promoting the Request a Bet service as it created an ‘unrealistic perception of the level of control consumers would have over betting success.’

The ad contained a number of references to the role of sports knowledge in betting, such as “spark your sports brain” and “how big is your sports noggin”. It also included a well-known sports presenter, who viewers would recognise as having a particular expertise in sports, and on-screen graphics used to depict brain waves and various odds.

The ASA said: “Taking all those elements into account, the ad placed strong emphasis on the role of sports knowledge in determining betting success. We acknowledged it was the case that those with knowledge of a particular sport may be more likely to experience success when betting. However, we considered that the ad gave an erroneous perception of the extent of a gambler’s control over betting success, by placing undue emphasis on the role of sports knowledge. We considered that this gave consumers an unrealistic and exaggerated perception of the level of control they would have over the outcome of a bet and that could lead to irresponsible gambling behaviour.”

Sky Bet claimed there were a number of parameters that customers could choose to build their bet and they would use knowledge of the relevant sport in order to do that. The ad made no reference to knowledge increasing someone’s chances of winning and referred to the possibilities of customers building their own bet. The ad also stated “In sports anything can happen” which emphasised that the outcome of bets were in no way guaranteed and the ad made no reference to knowledge of sports increasing gambling success.

It was still found to be in breach of the ASA code and was subsequently banned.

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