Premier League Managers Appeal To Under-18s, Says UK Authority

July 12, 2023
The UK advertising regulator has banned two gambling ads, including a crackdown on Entain-owned Ladbrokes for its use of Premier League managers.


The UK advertising regulator has banned two gambling ads, including a crackdown on Entain-owned Ladbrokes for its use of Premier League managers.

In two posts on Twitter, the UK bookmaker featured images of a series of managers from clubs in the Premier League, the highest tier of professional football in England.

The first featured Newcastle manager Eddie Howe and featured the text “EDDIE HOWE’S ONE-YEAR MASTERCLASS”, in reference to his success in leading his team to a much higher position in the table last season than it had managed during the previous campaign.

The second encouraged viewers to bet on the next manager to be sacked and included images of David Moyes, Frank Lampard, Brendan Rodgers and Gary O’Neil.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said it began an investigation after it became concerned that the ads could be of strong appeal to people under the age of 18.

Ladbrokes argued that its first post was editorial content and did not contain any encouragement to gamble and it had used ad-tech to target the post to those over the age of 25. It also said that analytics showed that 0 percent of its target audience was under 25, the ASA said.

However it acknowledged failings on the second, multi-manager ad and admitted the use of images of the Premier League bosses was in violation of its own internal guidance.

The operator has “taken steps to ensure that content of that nature would be reviewed more thoroughly to ensure future ads would comply with the advertising rules”, the ASA said.

However, the regulator ruled that both ads were in breach of UK marketing rules because Premier League managers are viewed as being of strong appeal to those under-18.

“We considered that it would have been acceptable for the ads to appear in a medium where under-18s, for all intents and purposes, could be entirely excluded from the audience,” the ASA said.

That does not include Twitter, it added, which is deemed not to have “robust” enough age verification checks to guarantee an adult-only audience.

The case also suggests the ASA is stepping up its internal monitoring of gambling companies. Today’s enforcement is another instigated by the advertising regulator itself, rather than via an external complaint.

Earlier this month, the ASA upheld its own complaint against a Ladbrokes ad that featured social media star turned boxer Jake Paul.

Two further investigations in April and May of this year into ads for Kwiff and Betvictor were also triggered by the ASA’s own investigations.

Hey! Stop That!

In a separate case unveiled today, the ASA has banned a marketing practice used by Lights Camera Bingo, a brand belonging to Jumpman Gaming Ltd.

The operator has been told to cease displaying a message reading “Hey! Come Back!” which would appear in the internet browser tab containing the bingo site if users opened a tab to visit a different website.

The operator claimed that it was simply an alert to the customer that the website had not been closed and a reminder they were still logged in, said the ASA.

Lights Camera Bingo added that “they did not believe it could be claimed that the customer had left the website and had therefore intended to stop play when the website was still open in their browser”.

The ASA, however, said it was reasonable to assume that some customers who intended to stop gambling would leave the bingo tab open as they moved to another website and that the message was therefore socially irresponsible.

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