ASA rethinks decision on Sky Bet advert following further inspection

The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) has carried out further investigations into a TV advertisement for online operator Sky Bet, confirming that the advertising regulator would reverse its original decision deeming the advert ‘irresponsible’. 

The advert in question was first shown to viewers on 30 August 2018, and following two complaints, the ASA ruled the advert to be ‘socially irresponsible’ and in contravention to BCAP Code rules 17.3.

However following further inspection, the ASA has found that the advert was not in breach of advertising regulations, therefore making its ruling ‘not upheld.’

During the broadcast, the gambling operator promoted its “request a bet” service to customers which would allow punters to place a combination of bets throughout a football match.

In the advert, Jeff Stelling says: “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.”

The Sky Bet advert in question was challenged by viewers following its implication that there was significant correlation between the level of sports knowledge and gambling success.

Due to the voice over inviting viewers to consider the array of outcomes in sports games, Clearcast found that the ad was not irresponsible, nor did it promise guaranteed success for those who followed the game.

In response to the advert, the ASA ruled that: “The ad focused on the features of the particular betting service being promoted and we did not consider that it irresponsibly exaggerated the role which sports knowledge played in achieving betting success.

“The phrase “in sport anything does happen” explicitly recognised the uncertain nature of sporting outcomes. We therefore concluded that the ad was not socially irresponsible and did not breach the Code.”

Following the change in ruling, Clearcast has also stated that it believed the advert was ‘in line with similar sports betting treatments, where the focus was on the excitement and possibilities within sports for fans, rather than on the outcome of the bet or on the possibilities of winning.’

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