An Instagram post for freebetsdotcom, a company which collated betting offers from other betting providers, seen on 11 and 12 July 2023, featured an image of the Chelsea footballer Mason Mount playing football.
Two complainants challenged whether the ad breached the Code because it featured Mason Mount, who was under 25 years of age.
XLMedia plc did not respond to the ASA’s enquiries.
The ASA was concerned by XLMedia plc’s lack of response and apparent disregard for the Code and ruled that they had breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 1.7 (Unreasonable delay). We reminded them of their responsibility to respond promptly to enquiries and told them to do so in future.
For ads for gambling services, the CAP Code stated that no one who was, or seemed to be, under 25 years old could be featured playing a significant role in marketing communications, except for a specific exception for marketing communications where a bet could be placed directly through a transactional facility, for instance, a gambling operator’s own website.
The CAP Code also stated that marketing communications must be prepared with a sense of responsibility to consumers and to society.
Although we acknowledged that freebetsdotcom’s service was not itself gambling, using it would place consumers in a position where they would be interacting with gambling services. We therefore considered it would be irresponsible to feature someone who was aged under 25 playing a significant role in their ads.
The image of Mason Mount was the central focus of the ad and we considered that he therefore played a significant role in it. We understood he was 24 years old at the time the ad was published.
Because the ad was for a service that was intended to facilitate gambling and featured someone who was aged under 25 playing a significant role, we concluded that it was irresponsible.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 1.3 (Social responsibility).
The ad must not appear again in the form complained of. We told XLMedia to ensure they did not feature individuals who were under 25 years of age playing a significant role in marketing communications for services that would lead consumers to interact with gambling services. We referred the matter to CAP’s Compliance team.