ASA bans Sky Bet ad fronted by sports presenter Jeff Stelling
A Sky Bet TV add featuring Jeff Stelling has been banned because it could lead to “irresponsible gambling behaviour” and placed “undue emphasis on the role of sports knowledge”.
The ad, seen on August 30, last year, promoting the firm’s “Request a Bet” service, involved presenter Jeff Stelling saying: “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.
“Three red cards, seven corners, five goals: lets price that up.
“Or browse hundreds of request a bets on our app. The possibilities are humongous. How big is your sports noggin?
“Sky Bet, Britain’s most popular online bookmaker. When the fun stops, stop.”
A large screen behind the presenter featured various odds and statistics as well as a graphic of brain waves emanating from his head.
The ad received complaints from viewers who believed it implied that those with a good knowledge of sports were likely to experience gambling success and challenged whether the ad was irresponsible.
Sky Bet said there were a number of parameters that customers could choose to build their bet and they would use knowledge of the relevant sport in order to do that.
The ad made “no reference to knowledge increasing someone’s chances of winning and referred to the possibilities of customers building their own bet.”
The ad also stated “In sports anything can happen” which emphasised that the outcome of bets were in no way guaranteed and the ad made no reference to knowledge of sports increasing gambling success.
It explained that it was accepted that knowledge of a specific sport would on the whole increase a consumer’s chances of success.
Many customers researched, studied and followed sports to a degree which would give them an “edge” over a bookmaker.
Sky Bet said its own Trading Team used knowledge, research and information in order to set the odds of specific outcomes.
But the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) subsequently upheld the complaints, saying it breached gambling codes.
In an assessment, the ASA said: “The ad contained a number of references to the role of sports knowledge in betting, such as ‘spark your sports brain’ and ‘how big is your sports noggin’.
“It also included a well-known sports presenter, who viewers would recognise as having a particular expertise in sports, and on-screen graphics used to depict brain waves and various odds.”
The watchdog added: “The ASA considered that, taking all those elements into account, the ad gave an erroneous perception of the extent of a gambler’s control over betting success, by placing undue emphasis on the role of sports knowledge.
“We considered that 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.
“We therefore concluded that the ad breached the Code.”