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Bookies behaving badly: UK ad watchdog spanks 888, Betfred, spares Paddy Power

TAGs: 888 Holdings, Advertising Standards Authority, Betfred, metro, Paddy Power

paddy-power-betfred-888-advertsThe UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has handed down a trio of rulings after studying three bookmakers’ contentious adverts.

First up was 888 Holdings’ 888sport.com, which ran an online promotion offering 3/1 odds on Arsenal winning a match in regular time. The complainant understood that the linked terms & conditions stipulated that the enhanced odds applied only to the first £10 of any wager but felt the ad should have more explicitly stated that regular odds applied to any sum above £10. The ASA agreed, noting that since the ad appeared on 888’s own website, the company was “not significantly limited by time or space” and should have elucidated the full terms up front.

Next up is Betfred, who sent out emails promising £25 worth of free bets for any bet of £1 or higher. The complainant objected to Betfred T&C’s requiring bettors to place their wager on odds of “Evens (2.0) or greater” in order to qualify for the free wager offer. The ASA upheld the complaint, suggesting Betfred’s ad copy was insufficient to alert punters that significant conditions applied.

Finally, perennial ASA whipping boys Paddy Power were accused of linking UK politicians with whipping their skippy’s. The ad in question appeared in the Metro free daily paper and featured photos of Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg and his UKIP counterpart Nigel Farage. The Paddsters argued that the ad was intended to encourage politically inclined punters to wager on which pol would win a live TV debate but the two prudes who complained suggested the facial expressions on the pols’ faces and the ‘Who’s the best mass debater?’ ad copy were intended to imply a masturbatory subtext. To which Paddy (should have) replied: ‘Well, duh.’

In reality, the Paddsters acknowledged the double entendre but insisted that the ad was lighthearted in spirit and people should get a grip (our phrase, not theirs). Metro’s bosses Associated News concurred, saying its readers were young, intelligent professionals with a sense of humor. In a rare display of Solomon-worthy wisdom, the ASA agreed that the ad was unlikely to cause widespread offence and spared Paddy the rod. This time…

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