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UK watchdog criticises influencer’s betting ad

The ASA has upheld a complaint against an ad for Festival Free Bets.

UK.- The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld a complaint against an advert for Festival Free Bets posted on X by the social media influencer Astrid Wett. The complaint was made because Wett is aged under 25.

The post on March 12 included a picture of Wett at Cheltenham racecourse when she was 23 years old. Wett apologised and said she was not aware of the CAP Code’s age restrictions for gambling ads and had assumed the post was allowed because he was aged over 18.

The ASA said Festival Free Bets itself had not responded. It raised concerns about the “lack of response and apparent disregard for the Code”. It ruled that the company had breached Cap Code rule 1.7, which deals with unreasonable delay to the ASA enquiries. The watchdog told the company it had a responsibility to respond quickly.

The ASA said: “Although we acknowledged that Festival Free Bets was not itself a licensed gambling provider, using it would place consumers in a position where they would be interacting with gambling services. We therefore considered it would be irresponsible to feature someone who was aged under 25 playing a significant role in their ads.” The ad in question must not appear again.

ASA warning ahead of Euro 2024

The ASA has issued a warning to gambling operators advising them to be careful with their advertising in the run-up to Euro 2024. It said operators should take particular care not to target minors. The watchdog took the opportunity to remind operators of what is and isn’t permitted under the UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising and Direct & Promotional Marketing.

As updated in 2022, the Cap Code states that gambling ads must not feature people aged under 25, including footballers, except those on betting sites themselves. Ads must also not feature football players or other celebrities who have a strong appeal among under 18s.