ASA sanctions BetIndex for ad featuring underage players
The UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has sanctioned BetIndex, owner of “football stockmarket” Football Index for featuring five footballers aged under 25 in an advertisement. The ASA ruled that the advertisement must not appear again.
On 20 May, BetIndex published a paid-for Facebook ad featuring the images of many footballers including England internationals 19-year-old Jadon Sancho, 24-year-old Raheem Sterling, 18-year-old Callum Hudson-Odoi, 21-year-old Marcus Rashford and French international 20-year-old Kylian Mbappé.
The ad also featured the text: “Jadon Sancho is now the football stockmarket's third most valuable player, with many traders seeing handsome profits,” the values of the players included and the text “Sancho the big mover.”
The UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising and Direct & Promotional Marketing (CAP Code) states that no one who is or appears to be under 25 years old may be featured playing a significant role in gambling marketing communications that are shown outside of the operator’s facility or website.
BetIndex argued that the under-25 players’ role in the ad was not significant, as it included many players and that the players were used to illustrate the features of the platform and what consumers would see if using the app.
However, the ASA disagreed, ruling that all of the footballers in the ad played a significant role.
“We understood the intention of the ad was to illustrate the nature of the gambling app and how it could be played,” the ASA said.
“However, we considered that of equal measure was its aim to offer the audience an opportunity to use the app for the purposes of gambling. In that context, while the significance of the players under 25 was no greater than the other players featured, we considered that all listed footballers were the focus of the post, and that each of them played an equally significant role in the marketing communication.”
Prior to the ruling, BetIndex had withdrawn the ad and said they would ensure staff receive relevant training on the use of sportspeople under 25 years of age in marketing communications.