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ASA Reverses Ruling On Sky Bet’s Banned Jeff Stelling Advert

Sky Bet

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has overturned a ban on a Sky Bet television advert.

The advertisement in question first appeared on television back in August 2018. It starred Sky Sports presenter Jeff Stelling and promoted Sky Bet’s Request A Bet service, a feature on the Sky Bet website that allows you to create your own bet and then request a price.

In the advert, Stelling told viewers: “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: let’s price that up. Or browse hundreds of Request A Bets on our app. The possibilities are humongous. How big is your sports noggin?”

According to reports, the ASA received two complaints about the advert in March this year, saying the advert suggested that gamers with a good knowledge of sports would be more likely to achieve success in gambling. Following an investigation, the ASA ruled that the advert could lead to irresponsible behaviour and that it had breached ASA guidelines, prompting the organisation to ban the ad from being broadcast.

Sky Bet, who initially claimed that ASA’s decision was “inconsistent” with others taken during the same period, appealed the ruling, causing the ASA to launch a second investigation into the advertisement where it found that Sky Bet’s advert did not breach any of its regulations.

Overturning The Ban

The ASA has now ruled that the ad was not socially irresponsible and did not breach ASA’s guidelines, prompting the organisation to clear the ban. They also stated that while the advertisement did contain references regarding the role of sports knowledge in better, it understood these as referencing the potential to use this knowledge when constructing a bet.

In a statement, the ASA said: “The ad focused on the features of the particular betting service promoted and we did not consider that it irresponsibly exaggerated the role in which sports knowledge played in achieving betting success. The phrase ‘in sport anything does happen’ explicitly recognised the uncertain nature of sporting outcomes. We therefore concluded that the ad was not socially irresponsible and did not breach the Code.”

Clearcast, an ad clearance service, supported the move by saying that the advertisement was in-line with similar promotions on the market “where the focus was on the excitement and possibilities within sports for fans, rather than on the outcome of the bet or on the possibilities of winning”.

The firm stated that the voice over only invited viewers to consider the various possibilities of outcomes in sports betting and found that the ad was not irresponsible and did not promise viewers any guaranteed success. Meanwhile, a Sky Betting and Gaming spokesperson issued a statement to Gambling Insider saying: “We welcome the clarity which the revised ruling brings, and we are committed to supporting the work of the ASA in this area going forward.”

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