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ASA finds Bet365 gambling ad with Granit Xhaka in breach of regulations

A recent ruling by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has resulted in consequences for Bet365 gambling advertisement featuring Granit Xhaka, as it was deemed to have breached regulations and displayed irresponsible targeting towards under-18s.

The ad, promoted by Bet365, utilised a tweet on the Sky Sports Premier League X (formerly Twitter) account to showcase a video of Xhaka’s goal against Manchester United. The video was adorned with digital shapes and the Bet365 logo.

The ASA’s investigation was initiated by their innovative Active Ad Monitoring system, which employs artificial intelligence to identify potentially non-compliant online ads.

Key to the ASA’s consideration was whether the ad prominently featured an individual, Granit Xhaka, with significant appeal to individuals under 18 years old.

In response, online bookmaker bet365 argued that the ad was part of the Twitter Amplify feature and co-produced with Sky Sports. They emphasised strict controls to ensure only those over 25 saw the ad and asserted that Xhaka’s content wasn’t intended to attract younger viewers.

The ASA, however, highlighted bet365’s active promotion of the tweet, effectively incorporating its content into their advertising strategy. Given football‘s popularity among the under-18 demographic and Xhaka’s status, the ASA concluded the ad inherently appealed to those under 18.

They also criticised bet365’s self-identification model for user ages, deeming it insufficient to exclude underage individuals from the ad’s audience.

As a result, the ASA ruled the gambling ad violated regulations. Subsequently, they instructed bet365’s Hillside brand to avoid featuring individuals with strong allure to under-18s in future gambling-related ads.

In response, the current version of the Xhaka ad must be withdrawn. This decision underscores the increasing scrutiny and regulations surrounding ads targeting underage audiences. The ASA’s commitment to responsible advertising practices highlights the need for a safer and more transparent digital advertising landscape.
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