A promoted tweet for bet365, seen in January 2023, contained an image that featured boxer Chris Eubank Jr. The caption stated, “It’s fight week! Chris Eubank Jr and Liam Smith will be Unleashed in Manchester. Click here for latest odds”.
IssueThe ASA challenged whether the ad included an individual who was likely to be of strong appeal to under-18s, and therefore breached the Code.
Hillside (UK Sports) ENC t/a bet365 said that their social media channels were age-gated to users who were 18 years and over. They explained that where a platform did not have robust age verification methods in place, bet365’s targeted campaigns were only served to users identified as 25 years and over and had relative interests. Bet365 said that all social media channels had exclusion lists, so that users who were identified as self-excluded or at a higher risk of gambling related harm did not receive targeted content.
Bet365 said they had developed robust processes which included reviewing all individuals and content across all of their UK marketing channels. They said that an independent compliance team at bet365 carried out the reviews, and that all reviews were documented and compiled using ASA guidelines. They said that individuals or content deemed to be of high risk would not be used in marketing communications. bet365 also explained that they conducted ongoing live monitoring of individuals used in their marketing communications to ensure that they were not of high risk after appearing in an ad. They stated that people with inherent strong appeal, such as European top flight footballers, were automatically excluded from their marketing.
Regarding the complaint, bet365 said that the ad was only displayed to users aged 25 and over and to individuals who had displayed interest in relevant content. bet365 stated that they had carried out a risk assessment of Chris Eubank Jr against the CAP guidance on gambling and lotteries advertising and were satisfied to a high degree that the ad did not have appeal to under-18s.
They explained that Chris Eubank Jr was 33 years old and was best known for being a professional boxer in the Middleweight and Super-Middleweight divisions. They said that as per CAP’s guidance, he was deemed as having low or moderate risk, since boxing was an adult-oriented sport, and that he did not have appeal to under-18s in the context of his profile within the sport.
Bet365 acknowledged that Chris Eubank Jr had appeared on Celebrity Gogglebox, but said they had deemed that appearance as being of low risk because the programme was aired after 9pm and because he had made brief appearances in the programme alongside his father, Chris Eubank.
bet365 also noted a previous ASA Ruling had concluded that Celebrity Gogglebox was “primarily aimed at an adult audience”, and was unlikely to have resulted in a significant change in an individual’s level of appeal to under-18s. bet365 said that for the same reasons, they did not deem Chris Eubank Jr’s appearance on the programme to be a reason for under-18s to watch it, and that they did not deem him to have strong appeal as a result of appearing on the programme.
bet365 said that as per CAP guidance, boxing was a more adult-oriented sport. They said that they had assessed Chris Eubank Jr’s social media profiles prior to publishing the ad. They provided details of his audience demographics on social media which showed that on Facebook, 0.1% of his followers were registered as under 18. On Twitter, 0.3% of his followers were registered as under 18, and on Instagram 0.4% were registered as under 18, and said this demonstrated that he had low risk in appealing to under-18s. They said that he did not have a public account on YouTube. They also provided data for his followers on TikTok that showed that of his 21,300 followers, 31.7% were registered as under 18. They said, however, that bet365 did not have a profile or presence on that platform and therefore none of his followers would see any bet365 content. They also said the majority of his followers were split across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and of his total follower count, 0.6% were registered as under 18.
They also provided the BARB viewing data for the Chris Eubank Jr and Liam Smith boxing match that showed of the 345,000 viewers, there were no under-24s who had watched it. The data also showed the largest demographic of viewers were aged between 35 and 54. Bet365 also provided the viewing data for the fight which was uploaded on YouTube. It showed that 0.5% of viewers were registered as under 18 and that the largest demographic of viewers were aged between 25 and 44.
They said all ads were also risk assessed on a case-by-case basis. bet365 said that they were confident that Chris Eubank Jr, and therefore the ad, did not have a strong appeal to under-18s.
Twitter said that the promoted tweet was not in breach of Twitter’s Ad Policies. They confirmed that they had not received any complaints about the ad. They said that in the event the complaint was upheld, the ad would be removed.
The CAP Code stated that marketing communications for gambling products must not be likely to be of strong appeal to children or young persons, especially by reflecting or being associated with youth culture. They must not include a person or character whose example was likely to be followed by those aged under 18 years or who had strong appeal to those aged under 18. The ASA expected advertisers to provide evidence that they had identified what persons or characters were generally known for outside the context of an ad, and had used appropriate sources of data and information to assess their likely level of appeal to under-18s. Because the ad had appeared in a medium where under-18s could not be entirely excluded from the audience it needed to comply with that rule.
The ASA noted that sportspeople involved in clearly adult-oriented sports who were ‘notable’ stars with significant social media and general profiles which made them well-known to under-18s were considered of ‘moderate risk’ within the CAP guidance “Gambling and lotteries: Protecting under-18s” in terms of how likely they were to be of strong appeal to under-18s.
Chris Eubank Jr was a current professional boxer, and the ad focused specifically on his upcoming boxing match against Liam Smith. We considered that boxing was an adult-oriented sport and was unlikely to be of inherent strong appeal to under-18s. The BARB viewing data and the viewing data on YouTube for the boxing match also showed that the majority of viewers were adults, and we did not consider the event itself likely to appeal strongly to under-18s.
We also considered how likely it was that Chris Eubank Jr would appeal strongly to under-18s based on his social media and general profiles. He had a large following on social media, including Instagram and Facebook, which totalled over 1.7 million followers, and had appeared on Celebrity Gogglebox in 2021. Most of his followers on social media were split across Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. In total, he had 10,905 followers who were registered as under 18 from the 1.7 million followers across social media, which did not suggest a strong appeal to those who were under 18.On TikTok, 31.7% of his followers were registered as under 18. We considered there was a risk in including figures in gambling ads who had an account on TikTok and who had a large number of followers who were under 18. However, the total number of his followers (of all ages) on that platform was around 21,000, compared to the total of over 1.7 million across all of the platforms. We considered the number of under-18 followers on TikTok was not significant in absolute terms, and did not imply strong appeal to under-18s more generally.We noted that Celebrity Gogglebox had been broadcast after 9 pm and we considered that it was primarily aimed at an adult audience. We also noted that his appearance in the show was limited and that he only appeared for a few minutes over the programme’s season in 2021. We considered that his appearance on the show was unlikely to have resulted in a change in his level of appeal to under-18s.
Lastly, we considered that there was nothing in the way he was presented in the ad that would have strongly attracted the attention of under-18s or was likely to render him of strong appeal.Given the above factors, we therefore concluded that the ad was not of strong appeal to children or young persons.
We investigated the ad under CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 16.1, 16.3 and 16.3.12 (Gambling), but did not find it in breach.
No further action necessary.