This decision comes despite concerns raised by some individuals about the advertisements potentially violating the advertising code, which prohibits gambling operators from linking themselves with individuals who could attract minors, the ASA conducted a thorough investigation and ultimately determined that there was no violation of the code.
ASA Deems Crouch Does Not Appeal to Young Audiences
The BCAP Code requires gambling ads to not be attractive to children or young people and to avoid using people or characters with strong appeal to those under 18.
The ad in question featured Peter Crouch and promoted Paddy Power’s Bet Builder for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The ASA evaluated whether Peter Crouch had a strong appeal to young audiences.
Although Peter Crouch was widely known earlier in his career, he retired in 2019 and played for less popular clubs after 2011, so he is not considered to have strong appeal to minors based on his soccer career. He also does not have a strong social media presence and is associated with TV programs and podcasts aimed at adult audiences.
He recently appeared on “The Masked Dancer,” a family entertainment show with 8.5 million views from children. However, since he appeared as one of four panelists and the show was of broad demographic appeal, there was no evidence of strong appeal to under-18s, according to the BCAP Guidance.
Considering all of these facts, ASA deemed that the Paddy Power ad featuring Peter Crouch did not violate the rules.
On basically the same grounds, ASA deemed that the Sky Bet ad featuring Micah Richards did not violate the advertisement code rules around gambling ads.
Micah Richards, a former professional soccer player, is well-known on TV as a pundit and has adult-oriented media profiles, but he has limited appeal to minors. His TV profile, social media presence, and other endorsements are predominantly adult-focused, with nothing in the ad likely to attract minors.
As a result, it was concluded that the ad was not of strong appeal to children or young persons, and was compliant with the CAP Code.
Ads with Ex-Soccer Players Caused Controversy
The two ads, however, sparked a lot of debate and criticism. Charities combatting the consequences of problem gambling spoke out against the endorsement of celebrities in sports betting advertising.
Tom Fleming of Gambling with Lives pointed out that the use of celebrities to promote sports betting during the World Cup was a violation of the regulations introduced by the Advertising Standards Authority. He also highlighted that he finds it unacceptable for current or former soccer players or managers to endorse highly addictive products.
The UK government is working towards revising its gambling laws, which have been postponed due to the political turmoil in the UK. However, these changes are expected to be implemented soon and will likely significantly restrict gambling advertisements.