ASA Backs Sky Bet As Regulators See Beyond Anti-Gambling Hysteria

Sky Bet has notched up a win for the gaming industry by having a ruling against one of its adverts overturned.

Sky Bet ad

A Sky Bet ad featuring Jeff Stelling didn’t breach advertising guidelines according to the ASA. (Image: Prolific London)

In a July 10 update from the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), viewers learned that Request a Bet advert doesn’t contravene regulatory guidelines.

Stelling Wasn’t Selling Lies

The Sky Bet ad (see video below) was originally shown in August 2018. Promoting the operator’s Request a Bet service, presenter Jeff Stelling told viewers to use their knowledge of sports to build the perfect wager.

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,” Stelling said during the advert.

The ASA received two complaints from viewers that felt it implied those with versed in sports could become successful gamblers. Upon initial assessment, the regulator agreed and upheld the complaints.

According to the March 2019 report, the ad gave consumers “exaggerated” expectations. Put simply, the ASA felt it gave viewers an “unrealistic” perception of how their knowledge could help in the betting world.

However, Sky Bet was quick to challenge the ruling. Defending its position, it said that references to “knowledge” were only promoting its special feature and not the act of betting.

What’s more, it went on to say that it’s “accepted” an understanding of a specific sport could increase a consumer’s chance of success.

Pointing to its own team of odds makers, Sky Bet said they use data and stats to inform their decisions.

Taking all of this into account, the ASA has reversed its previous decision.

Sky Bet Victory Positive for All

For the gaming industry, the ruling will be seen as a win. Although the ASA governs promotional output for all UK industries, gaming has been a particular target in recent years.

With responsible gambling high on the government’s agenda, many operators have felt the wrath of the ASA. In May, Paddy Power was given another slap on the wrist for an advert featuring Ryan Giggs’ brother, Rhodri.

Such actions have forced gaming companies to tread carefully. However, although it may have been a problem initially, pressure from the ASA has helped to raise standards.

Back in April, Betfred found support from the authority after a viewer complained about a bingo ad. Despite the accusation that it normalised gambling, the ASA rejected the complaint and said Betfred had complied with its guidelines.

The pressure may still be on operators to consider how they advertise their products. However, following the latest ruling, operators will be relieved to see that the gaming isn’t being unfairly targeted.

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