An e-mail, for a Bet Butler promotion, showed an image of a football and a football stadium in the background. Text stated "SIGN UP TODAY FOR YOUR FREE £25 RISK-FREE BET* Join Now".
The complainant challenged whether the ad was appropriately targeted, given the product being advertised, because it was sent to his 10-year-old son.
Club Website Ltd said that they hosted a website and central management system for football clubs and teams. They explained that the service was funded through advertising and sponsorship. They said that Betclearer Ltd had provided the ad and it was released to their audience via e-mail. They said it was unusual for an administrator to enter the e-mail address of a young person, as a guardian was usually the main contact. They explained that when a member of a club signed up to the website, they could opt-in to receiving e-mails. They said the website administrator would then enter their details onto the database and select the appropriate age group. They said that, if the administrator had selected the under-18 age group, the registrant would not receive e-mails containing over-18 content. They explained that, on that occasion, an error had occurred and the administrator had selected the incorrect age group. They said that they would review their internal procedures to see how they could further the protection of their younger audience, including asking administrators to check age group settings.
Betclearer said that Club Website was an affiliate marketer that provided them with a means to promote their services. They explained that this allowed them to register new customers and receive commission. They said that Club Website had sent an e-mail promoting Betclearer to their registrants. They explained that Club Website had controls to ensure that only over-18s would receive e-mails containing Betclearer promotions. They said they had approved distribution of the e-mail on that basis. They said data management and administering opt-outs was the responsibility of Club Website.
The ASA acknowledged that Club Website had an internal control to ensure that under-18s did not receive over-18 content. We also noted that Club Website were willing to review their procedures to see how they could further protect their younger audience. However, the Code stated that marketing communications for gambling should be socially responsible, with particular regard to the need to protect children. It also stated that marketing communications for gambling should not be directed at those aged below 18 years through the selection of media or context in which they appear. We considered that Club Website had sent an e-mail promoting a gambling service to an under-18. Because of that, we concluded that the ad was inappropriately targeted.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 16.1 16.1 Marketing communications for gambling must be socially responsible, with particular regard to the need to protect children, young persons and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited. 16.2 16.2 In line with rule 1.2, the spirit as well as the letter of the rules in this section apply whether or not a gambling product is shown or referred to. and 16.3.13 16.3.13 be directed at those aged below 18 years (or 16 years for football pools, equal-chance gaming [under a prize gaming permit or at a licensed family entertainment centre], prize gaming [at a non-licensed family entertainment centre or at a travelling fair] or Category D gaming machines) through the selection of media or context in which they appear (Gambling).
The ad must not be sent to children who are under-18. We told Club Website to ensure that future gambling ads were not sent to under-18s.