Neymar Junior Banned from PokerStars’ UK Ads

Neymar banned from PokerStars ads in UK.

Neymar Jr, who is apparently too young to appear in gambling advertising in the UK and has been cropped from PokerStars’ new ad campaign. (Image:

It’s early September and the football transfer window is over once again, which means we can all stop stressing about Arsenal’s habitual paralysis around this time of year and whether or not David De Gea has missed his flight to Madrid. Newsflash: he has!

Of course, the best signings over the last year or so have been made not by Chelsea, or even Manchester City, but by online poker giants PokerStars.

Two of the world’s top footballing superstars, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar Jr, have both signed up to become ambassadors in recent months.

Even the “old Ronaldo” has hopped on board, and yes, we know he’s retired but he was once upon a time the greatest, so that’s still more exciting than, say, Micah Richards’ free transfer to Aston Villa.

PokerStars’ superstars have been part of the site’s new advertising campaign, its biggest of all time, and it seems to be paying off in spades.

The company has reported a big increase in sign-ups in the countries where the campaign has been running, as the appeal of these global football mega-lords is clearly planting poker into the consciousness of the great football-adoring public.

Barely Legal

It may also have something to do with the fact that (Cristiano) Ronaldo is the most widely followed human being on Facebook, with, at the time of writing, 106,278,973 “friends.” We suspect he employs someone full time simply to hit the “accept” button.

However, PokerStars’ apparently unstoppable ad campaign has hit a snag in the UK, where it seems that Neymar Junior is a little too, well, junior, for the liking of the UK Gambling Commission.

UK gambling law stipulates that no one who is, or looks, under the age of 25 may appear prominently on gambling marketing

“No one who is, or seems to be, under 25 years old may be featured gambling or playing a significant role,” state the regulations, and Neymar, a diminutive, baby-faced 23-year-old, falls ankle-clutchingly into this category.

Neymar’s Stunt Double

It’s not all lost, however; UK law does state that players who are under 25 may be used to advertise sports betting provided that their image is tied to the opportunity to bet on a game in which they are playing. This could prove handy for the site’s new online sports betting operation, which has been rolled out on the PokerStars client in the UK.

In the meantime, though, they’ve opted to replace the image of Neymar in the UK ads with that of a legal 40-year-old, Canadian poker player Daniel Negreanu.

The UK Gambling Commission is satisfied, apparently, which is just as well, because it has had enough on its mind recently with the news that Paddy Power and Betfair, two prime exponents of mischievous and risqué guerilla gambling advertising, are planning a merger, as reported here last week.

Now there’s an ad campaign we’re itching to see.

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