Betfred ads featuring boxer Anthony Joshua banned because of appeal to under-18s


The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned three tweets by Betfred featuring Anthony Joshua for violating gambling advertising rules.

Betfred argued that Joshua’s appeal is mostly adult-oriented, but the ASA found a significant number of his followers on Instagram and Snapchat to be under 18, making him of strong appeal to a young audience.

Betfred plans to demand an independent review, stating that the decision is unjust and that the interviews with Joshua did not undermine their commitment to avoiding youth appeal in marketing.

Betfred stated that, as per CAP guidance, boxing was an adult-orientated sport which was unlikely to be of strong appeal to under-18s. They said Mr Joshua’s fights were usually shown late at night and that they were mostly shown on a pay-per-view or subscription basis, which required payment from someone over the age of 18. For example, they said that his most recent fight was shown on DAZN, a paid-for subscription service which was not directly available to under-18s. They acknowledged that the fight was later uploaded to YouTube, but said that viewing figures did not indicate that people below the age of 18 had watched it.

Guidance stated that sportspeople involved in clearly adult-oriented sports who were ‘notable’ stars with significant social media and general profiles which made them well-known to under-18s were likely to be of ‘moderate risk’ of strong appeal to under-18s and stated that they would be assessed on the basis of their social and other media profile.