An ad on YouTube promoting a bookmaker with the participation of former Black Caps star, Brendon McCullum, is under fire via a newly submitted formal complaint in New Zealand. McCullum who was formerly a part of the famous New Zealand national cricket team, and a current member of the English cricket team, was appointed as a brand ambassador for the popular sports betting affiliate, 22Bet, a few months ago. He was is the star of a new ad that depicted him in a sports car, promoting mobile betting via 22Bet.
Now, the NZ Herald revealed that the Problem Gambling Foundation in New Zealand filed a formal complaint with the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) over the online gambling ad featuring McCullum.
While there are ongoing changes within the gambling sector, currently, New Zealand doesn’t offer legal online gambling. The only exemption of those rules relates to the New Zealand Lotteries Commission and TAB, the New Zealand Racing Board. This, in other words, means that companies offering their online gambling services in the country are doing so illegally.
Gamblers are not subject to prosecution if they use the services of such companies. However, it is forbidden for gambling operators to target New Zealand audiences with advertisements or to use the services of marketing or advertising agencies in the country.
The Ads Aggressively Marketed Gambling on YouTube
The new complaint filed with DIA claimed that “Brendon McCullum is the brand ambassador for 22Bet, which legitimizes and endorses the platform for Kiwi audiences.” Additionally, the formal complaint said that the gambling company 22Bet was “aggressively marketed” over YouTube.
The complaint filed with DIA also noted: “In the past week or so, I’ve noticed some aggressive advertisements on YouTube from 22Bet, which is a Cyprus-based betting operator. Most times I go to watch a video, an ad from 22Bet is played, saying that they are “legal bookers” and incentivizing joining their platform with either a NZ$250 or NZ$750 sign-up bonus.”
Keeping in mind that 22Bet isn’t based in New Zealand, the DIA said that it is limited when it comes to enforcing gambling regulations against overseas gambling platforms. “Currently, the prohibition does not apply to gambling conducted overseas and it is not illegal for a person in New Zealand to gamble with an overseas gambling provider over the internet,” it said. Finally, the DIA noted that it is looking into what can be done on the topic and it didn’t rule out contacting the betting company with a request to change misleading marketing, if any.