Reality TV star breaches advertising rules by promoting betting tip site
An Instagram story on reality TV star Sam Gowland’s Instagram page for Thebettingman, a gambling advice service, seen on 2 June 2020 breached advertising rules by boasting the service had helped him pay for his new car and linking to the site on his Instagram page.
The captions stated “I told use [sic] Thursday night if u wanted to make money the betting man is the way forward for £25! 12 wins out of 14 this weekend and another winner this morning”, “£450 quid up this weekend and over £1k up for the week! And that’s the reason I tell use [sic] to join”, and “£25 to join vip group swipe up to get in the group for tonight’s bets and the rest of the weeks bets”, followed by “Best second source of income I’ve ever had … hence the new car I’m getting … not bad for £25” and “To join vip tips group swipe up and watch the profits roll in like the rest of the members”.
Swiping up on the story took users to Thebettingman’s website, www.thebettingman.co.uk, which invited users to join their service.
TBM Enterprises and Thebettingman said that they did not ask Mr Gowland to post the story. However, they said that the post should have included the ‘ad’ label and should have included the hashtags #18+ and #gambleresponsibly, and these would be included in any future stories.
Sam Gowland stated that the ad was a promotional post and that he had subsequently read the ASA’s guidance and would be labelling any future ads with the identifier ‘#ad’.
In a ruling published on Wednesday, ASA found that even though it is not itself a betting site, promoting Thebettingman as an easy way to make money irresponsibly encouraged gambling.
The ASA said we acknowledged that both Thebettingman and Sam Gowland understood that the Instagram story should have been labelled as an ad and we welcomed their assurances that future promotional posts would be labelled with the identifier ‘#ad’.
Nevertheless, in the absence of a clear and prominent identifier on the story itself, such as “#ad”, we concluded that the story was not obviously identifiable as a marketing communication and that it breached the Code.