Ubet spanked for linking bets and booze; Sky Vegas told to unplug rock star

TAGs: Advertising Standards Authority, Australia, Sky Vegas, ubet

ubet-punters-academy-advert-betting-alcoholThe UBet wagering division of Australian operator Tatts Group has become the first company to be punished for an advert linking gambling with alcohol.

This week, Liquor and Gaming New South Wales successfully prosecuted Ubet for a “Punters Academy” YouTube video that showed people learning how to bet ‘head to head’ on National Rugby League matches while holding half-drunk glasses of beer.

The same advert resulted in Ubet also being convicted of offering inducements to punters. The convictions resulted in deputy chief magistrate Jane Mottley fining Ubet A$3,300 in addition to awarding court costs of $4,500.

Ubet’s defense had rested on its claims that there was some misunderstanding regarding the ad’s placement and that it had withdrawn the ad once it realized its error. Mottley wasn’t buying it, calling these claims “naïve.”

UBet is the latest operator to fall afoul of Liquor & Gaming NSW’s advertising edicts, following recent convictions of CrownBet, Bet365, Unibet, and Ladbrokes. But Ubet’s conviction marked the first time the NSW authority had prosecuted a betting company for promoting alcohol and gambling.

Ubet’s shameful moment in the spotlight comes just days before the Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA) is set to impose its own self-regulatory code of conduct, which includes restrictions on adverts that link alcohol consumption with wagering.

Meanwhile, the UK’s advertising watchdog has spanked Sky Betting & Gaming’s online casino division for an ad that suggested gambling would help people enhance their personal qualities.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) received a single complaint regarding a Sky Vegas television commercial that featured a closeup of a man wearing sunglasses. The voiceover claimed ‘Michael’ was “doing his recycling” that morning, yet since he went on the Sky Vegas site he’d become a “roulette rock star riding an electric riff of red and black.”

Sky Vegas claimed the ad’s intent was to show that Michael was having a good time playing on the site. The smile that slowly crossed Michael’s face as the ad progressed was intended to reflect “relatively muted enjoyment in comparison to everyday chores.”

The ASA begged to differ, saying the ad took the character from “everyday Michael” to “rock star Michael,” the latter character exuding the confidence, personality and qualities of a rock star. Michael’s improved image convinced the ASA that the ad strongly suggested that gambling would enhance the personal qualities of those gambling.

Sky Vegas was ordered not to rebroadcast the ad in its current form and to refrain from future ads linking gambling with personal improvement.


views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of