A YouTube ad on the Betway account, seen on 19 October 2019, promoted the gambling company. The video opened with an image in the style of a car parking fine with the Betway logo at the top. The text on the parking fine image stated, “DECLAN RICE CAR CLAMP PRANK!”. The video depicted a prank being played on Declan Rice, the West Ham footballer. The various characters wore West Ham football shirts which prominently featured the Betway logo. Declan Rice changed into a plain white T-shirt part way through the prank. The penultimate screen showed the tagline “HEED YOUR HUNCH” in green. The video ended with the word “betway” on the screen which divided to read, “bet the responsible way. 18+ begambleaware.org”.
The complainant challenged whether the ad breached the Code because it featured prominently Declan Rice who was under 25 years of age.
Betway Ltd t/a Betway confirmed that Declan Rice was 20 years of age. Betway said that they did not consider the YouTube video to be an ad or to contain promotional content, and therefore did not believe it to be a marketing communication for the purposes of the CAP Code. They said it was a prank video of Declan Rice, a football player for West Ham, getting his car clamped by an actor purporting to be a traffic warden. Betway said that the video did not feature a player in a sporting context, did not refer to a specific market, odds or promotions and that there was no link to the Betway website where a bet could be placed. Betway therefore considered the ad was editorial content rather than an ad.
The ASA noted Betway's submission that the YouTube video did not fall within the remit of the CAP Code. We noted that the YouTube video appeared on the Betway YouTube channel and featured sportsmen who consumers would be able to place bets on in the future and wearing football shirts with a prominent Betway logo. The ad ended with the brand name “Betway” followed by the claim “bet the responsible way. 18+ begambleaware.org”. We therefore considered that the video was promoting the Betway brand. The ad also featured the claim “HEED YOUR HUNCH”, which we considered encouraged consumers to think about placing a bet. For those reasons we considered the YouTube video was directly connected with the supply of Betway’s services and was therefore within the remit of the CAP Code.
The CAP Code stated that no one who is, or seemed to be, under 25 years old may be featured playing a significant role in marketing communications ‒ except for a specific exemption for marketing communications that included a transactional facility. The YouTube video featured Declan Rice for the duration of the five-minute video, and we accordingly considered that he had played a significant role in the video. We also understood that Declan Rice was 20 years old.
Because Declan Rice was under the age of 25, and played a significant role in the ad, we concluded that the ad breached the Code. The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 16.3.14 (Gambling).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Betway Ltd to remove the ad and ensure that they did not feature individuals who were under the age of 25 playing a significant role in marketing communications on social media.