ASA dismisses complaint against bet365 Eubank Jr tweet

The ASA ruled that boxing is an adult-oriented sport.
The ASA ruled that boxing is an adult-oriented sport.

A complainant said the tweet constituted a banned gambling advert.

UK.- The UK advertising watchdog, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), has sided with bet365 in a complaint about a tweet it made featuring the boxer Chris Eubank Jr. The bookmaker had tweeted in advance of Eubank’s fight with Liam Smith at the Manchester Arena on January 21.

The tweet in contention read “It’s fight week! Chris Eubank Jr and Liam Smith will be Unleashed in Manchester. Click here for latest odds”. The complaint argued that this breached new rules that prohibit betting operators from advertising using content that would have strong appeal for young people.

The Committee on Advertising Practice (CAP) code prohibits gambling operators from using professional athletes that have a strong appeal among young people. The code ranks athletes as low, moderate or high risk.

However, bet365 argued that boxing was an “adult-oriented sport” when compared to sports with broader appeal, such as football. As such, it said Eubank Jr would fall in the low or moderate risk CAP category.

To back up its argument, bet365 noted that viewing figures for the fight showed that out of 345,000 viewers, none were aged under 24, and the largest proportion were aged between 35 and 34. Only 0.5 per cent of YouTube viewers were under 18, and among Eubank Jr’s own social media followers, only 0.1 per cent of Facebook followers, 0.3 per cent of Twitter followers and 0.4 per cent of Instagram followers were aged under 18. Close to a third of his followers on TikTok were aged under 18, but bet365 does not use the app.

The ASA found in bet365’s favour, agreeing that boxing was an adult-oriented sport and that Eubank Jr had little social media appeal among under 24s. It is of note that the ASA makes particular distinction between sports. It has found against operators in the case of ads featuring football players.

Last month, the online gaming company Eaton Gate Gaming was sanctioned for inappropriate targeting of a gambling advert. It advertised its Kwiff online gaming brand on the Portsmouth FC website in an article about the young fans club, the Junior Blues.

Meanwhile, the ASA ordered BetVictor to remove a social media advert that featured two Barcelona players, Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets, together with the caption stating “Who is the most underrated player at the club you support?” and the BetVictor logo. The ASA ruled that because Alba and Busquets are active players at a prominent club, the ad breached the CAP’s ban on the use of public figures who appeal to under-18s.

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