The ASA has published three rulings on the use of images of under-25s on Twitter feeds for gambling operators. They set an important precedent for the application of the CAP Code to social media.
The message is clear – the Code applies to ads appearing in third party space under a marketer’s control. If you use Twitter to engage with consumers, a lot of what you tweet is likely to be advertising.
What do the Codes say?
The CAP Code specifically prevents the use of images of anyone under the age of 25 who is playing a significant role from appearing in marketing communications for gambling ads. This is intended to avoid the potential for characters in ads to appeal to children or young people. This rule is one of a range of provisions designed to ensure that gambling advertising is not targeted at or likely to appeal to children and young people.
It’s important to note, however, that marketers offering a bet through a medium where that bet can be placed directly (e.g. on a gambling operator’s own website) can feature individuals under the age of 25, but only when that individual is the subject of the bet being offered.
What do the rulings say?
Some gambling operators use their Twitter presence to engage with consumers, including updates on offers or products and updates about on-going sporting events. There’s nothing wrong with that.
However, the three tweets investigated featured images of the American golfer Jordan Spieth, who had recently won the US Open golf tournament, and speculated in different ways on how many more Major golf tournaments he might win. Spieth was only 21 at the time of the tweets and all three were found in breach of the rule prohibiting depictions of under 25s.
But it’s Twitter, not a banner ad or a poster!
It doesn’t matter. The ASA applies the rules to all marketing within the remit of the Code. Since 2011, this has included ads directly connected with the supply of goods or services appearing on marketers own websites or in space, such as social media, that they control.
Tweets that feature even indirect links to products and services are in remit and must comply with the CAP Code. The Totesport and Coral tweets included odds, but even the Bet365 tweet was found to be an ad as it encouraged readers to predict how many Major golf tournaments Jordan Spieth might win during 2015 and therefore to consider gambling.
Don’t forget about the other rules
As always, you will need to consider the Codes in their entirety, and ensure that you are communicating with consumers in a way that is legal, decent, honest & truthful.
How to get more advice
In light of these rulings we’ve updated our Advice Online Entry Betting and gaming: Featuring under 25's.