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Melanie Porter September 27, 2023 3 min read
ASA Deems XLMedia’s Ad for FreeBetsDotCom Irresponsible
The Advertising Standards Authority has ruled that XLMedia’s ad for FreeBetsDotCom featuring Mason Mount has breached a CAP Code rule
On July 11 and 12, 2023, XLMedia posted an Instagram ad showcasing an image of Mason Mount, a professional midfielder representing Chelsea at the time, engaged in playing soccer.
The soccer player, who has since been transferred to Manchester United, was 24 years old when the respective ad was made public.
Two complaints were issued in relation to the ad, primarily trying to establish whether it had breached Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP) Code regulations which specify that individuals who are under the age of 25 should not be featured significantly in marketing communications in relation to gambling services.
There is an exception to this rule and it covers those cases when betting can be directly placed via transactional facilities.
ASA’s Ruling Explained
Since the nature of the ad was to promote engagement with gambling services and Mount’s image of playing soccer played a critical role in conveying the message, the ASA came to the conclusion that XLMedia breached the CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 1.3 (Social responsibility).
While FreeBetsDotCom is a platform that aggregates sports betting offers from different providers and facilitates gamblers’ interactions with their favorite gambling services, it does not offer gambling services on its own.
Nonetheless, the regulator still ruled that XLMedia acted irresponsibly when it decided to feature a soccer player who is under 25 years old playing and give him an important role in the ad.
As a consequence, the ASA decided that the perspective ad with Mount at the center should no longer be publicly displayed in its original form.
XLMedia has also been advised to refrain from using the images of individuals who are under the age of 25 in similarly important positions within their marketing communications for services used to lead consumers to have interactions with gambling services.
CAP’s Compliance team has also been asked to take further action.
Unreasonable Delay Rule Also Breached
In spite of initiating an official inquiry into the potential violation of these advertising guidelines, XLMedia, which is the parent company of FreeBetsDotCom, failed to offer a response.
This automatically prompted additional concerns regarding a breach of the ASA Code (Edition 12) rule 1.7 which speaks about Unreasonable delay.
The UK’s regulator of advertising that applies all Ad Codes written by the CAP emphasized the necessity that companies provide timely replies while further strengthening the idea that they should closely adhere to this requirement during future interactions.
Last week, the same regulator ruled that Postcode Lottery’s ad in the Daily Mail breached advertising regulations. In August, the ASA backed William Hill in an ad ruling regarding retired professional soccer player Robbie Savage.