A Sky Bet ad fronted by TV presenter Jeff Stelling, which suggested that sports boffins had a greater chance of winning, has been red carded by the ad watchdog for being socially irresponsible.
The TV ad, part of a long-running series featuring Stelling and Soccer Saturday pundits, promoted a Sky Bet’s “request a bet” service which allows punters to lay wagers on combinations of events during a football match, such as the number of corners, red cards and goals.
In the ad Stelling said: “Forget ‘anything can happen’, in sport anything does happen. But could it be better? With request a bet it could. Spark your sports brain and roll all the possibilities into one bet… The possibilities are humongous. How big is your sports noggin?”
The Advertising Standards Authority received two complaints that the ad was irresponsible because it implied that if consumers had a good knowledge of sports they were more likely to be successful gamblers.
In response, Sky Bet, which was sold for £3.4bn to the Stars Group last year, insisted the ad made no direct reference to knowledge increasing the chances of winning, but that knowledge of a specific sport “would on the whole increase a consumer’s chances of success”. It added: “Many customers researched, studied and followed sports to a degree which would give them an ‘edge’ over a bookmaker.”
However, the ASA was unimpressed and pointed out that the use of Stelling, who viewers would recognise as a sports expert, alongside graphics such as brainwaves, placed a “strong emphasis” on sports knowledge determining betting success.
Slapping the ad with a ban, the ASA ruled: “The ad gave an erroneous perception of the extent of a gambler’s control over betting success. This gave consumers an unrealistic and exaggerated perception of the level of control they would have over the outcome of a bet and that could lead to irresponsible gambling behaviour.”
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