March 13, 2024 3 min read


ASA Finds a Radio Ad for LeoVegas’ BetUK Breached the BCAP Code

The advertisement in question featured former soccer player Adebayo Akinfenwa and was heard on radio back in September

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), the regulator in charge of advertising in the UK, implemented strict measures when it comes to gambling ads in the country a few years ago. The Authority’s ongoing priorities include proactive monitoring and ensuring that all gambling operators who advertise their services comply with the existing framework. Under the rules, it is prohibited for gambling ads to feature individuals who are likely to appeal to under-18s.

One advertisement from LeoVegas’ BetUK sportsbook, which was heard last year, caught the attention of the ASA. The radio advertisement in question was heard on September 27, 2024, and included Adebayo Akinfenwa, a retired soccer player, who was presented as a brand ambassador for the company. In the ad, he promoted the use of responsible gambling tools available via BetUK. “You can set deposit limits, schedule reality checks and set timeouts to help you stay in control. Always gamble responsibly at BetUK,” said Akinfenwa.

In light of the participation of the soccer star, the ASA challenged whether or not the advertisement breached the BCAP Code rules. Under the rules, gambling marketing communication must not have any appeal to children or be associated with youth culture. “They must not include a person or character whose example was likely to be followed by those aged under 18 years or who had strong appeal to those aged under 18,” explains the ASA.

LeoVegas Submits a Response to the Authority’s Query

Responding to the ASA query, LeoVegas confirmed that it has considered the BCAP Code when selecting Akinfenwa for the advertisement. According to the company, the soccer player did not have a strong appeal to children as he retired in May 2022 and is currently 41 years old. This, LeoVegas said, makes him unlikely to be popular among children or young adults under the age of 18.

Moreover, the operator told the ASA that Akinfenwa’s career was focused on playing for League One and League Two clubs, while he also didn’t play for any clubs in the Premier League. LeoVegas added that outside of soccer, Akinfenwa’s social media profile did not have a strong appeal to children and his clothing brand did not advertise any child-related products.

Pointing to social media, the company explained that only 8% of Akinfenwa’s followers on Instagram were under the age of 18, while 13% of his following on Snapchat was also underage. The gambling operator said that the age demographics of the soccer player’s following on TikTok, X and Facebook were not available.

The Advertisement Regulator Concludes the Betting Ad Breached the Rules

Despite the position of the gambling operator, the ASA upheld its decision, explaining that the ad in question included a person who is likely to have strong appeal to those under the age of 18. The advertising watchdog said that the ad breached the BCAP Code rules 17.4 and 17.4.5. It added that the ad must not appear again in its current form.

Explaining its decision, the ASA said that Akinfenwa’s underage followers on Instagram and Snapchat were more than 157,000. It said that such a following indicates that the person can have “strong appeal” to children.

Additionally, the ASA revealed that Akinfenwa is also famous for his physical strength and the soccer player had the nickname The Beast in a number of FIFA videogame series. This otherwise means that he has a moderate risk of appealing to under-18s.


Jerome is a welcome new addition to the Gambling News team, bringing years of journalistic experience within the iGaming sector. His interest in the industry begun after he graduated from college where he played in regular local poker tournaments which eventually lead to exposure towards the growing popularity of online poker and casino rooms. Jerome now puts all the knowledge he's accrued to fuel his passion for journalism, providing our team with the latest scoops online.

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