UK Giant Ladbrokes Hit with ASA Censure

UK gambling giant Ladbrokes has found itself in the crosshairs of the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) following a Premier League-themed post on Twitter.

The promoted tweet, which was first published last October, showed an embedded video of an image reel featuring Premier League footballers Jesse Lingard, Philippe Coutinho and Kalidou Koulibaly.

The text, along with the embedded video, stated: “Can these big summer signings make the question markets over their performances go away?”. This was set against a background of question marks with Ladbrokes branding.

ASA invigilators are claiming that after reviewing the social media post, footballers used in the tweet might have a ‘strong appeal’ to persons under the age of 18, which in turn would breach existing CAP codes. The ASA has challenged Ladbrokes to explain the post.

The operator has, in turn, defended its in-house team, insisting that it was published as a brand engagement piece and that the tweet had no backlinks or call to action attached.

Ladbrokes has also suggested that it took all the necessary steps to bar access to the tweet by those aged under 18 by using age-gating and targeting tools to stop content from being accessed.

Furthermore, Ladbrokes provided data from Twitter that showcases the ad had been boosted only to reach users who were at least 25 years of age and over. The data also showed a total of 50,666 impressions and that 0% of their targeted audience was under 20 years of age.

“We noted the ad included Philippe Coutinho, Jesse Lingard and Kalidou Koulibaly, who were all current Premier League footballers and would be well known to those who followed Premier League football, and in particular fans of the clubs they played for, including children,” the ASA said in its complaint response.

“In addition, they had all played international football, and we considered, based on those factors, that all three footballers were likely to be of strong appeal to under-18s,” the watchdog stated.

Following the provision of the data, the ASA has conceded the acceptability of the advert showing up on an age-gated Twitter feed. However, it also said that the marketing data from user behaviour was insufficient to meet the threshold needed when reviewing actions taken to bar access by underage individuals.

After reviewing the factors provided, the ASA has ruled that the advertisement should show up in its current form.

Stay tuned for more news, and keep an eye out for the latest UK casinos here.