ASA rules that bet365's Xhaka tweet appealed to under-18s

The case states the need for advertisers to be cautious about using figures that could attract audiences below the legal gambling age.

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In a recent ruling, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) found that a gambling advertisement promoted by bet365, featuring Granit Xhaka, breached regulations and was irresponsible due to its appeal to under-18s.

The ad, which was featured through a tweet on the Sky Sports Premier League X (formerly Twitter) account, showcased a video of Xhaka's goal against Manchester United. 

The video included elements such as digital circles and triangles, along with the bet365 logo.

The ASA's investigation was triggered by their Active Ad Monitoring system, which employs AI to identify potentially rule-breaking online advertisements.

The challenge raised by ASA centred on whether the ad featured an individual, in this case, Granit Xhaka, who had a strong appeal to those under 18 years of age. 

Arguing the case, bet365 said that the ad had been part of the Twitter Amplify feature and was produced by Sky Sports. They stated that controls were in place to ensure the ad was only shown to users above the age of 25.

Furthermore, they claimed that Xhaka's content was not intended to target young audiences.

However, the ASA pointed out that bet365 had promoted the tweet and therefore incorporated its contents into their advertising.

Considering the nature of football's popularity among under-18s and Xhaka's prominence as a player for Arsenal and the Swiss national team, the ASA concluded that the ad was likely to have a strong appeal to those under 18 years of age.

It also noted that X's self-identification model for user ages was not robust enough to guarantee the exclusion of underage individuals from the audience.

The ASA ruled that the ad breached regulations and directed bet365's Hillside brand not to feature individuals or characters with strong appeal to under-18s in their gambling advertisements.

As a result of this ruling, the ad must not be displayed in its current form.

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