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ASA rules Ad featuring Mason Mount should not be displayed again by FreeBetsDotCom

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has recently addressed an advertisement featured on Instagram on July 11 & 12, 2023, by FreeBetsDotCom, a platform aggregating betting offers from various providers. 

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The advertisement showcased an image of Manchester United's Mason Mount playing football. The ASA investigated the issue after receiving two complaints regarding potential violations of advertising guidelines. 

Despite the ASA's inquiries, XLMedia, the parent company of FreeBetsDotCom, did not respond, prompting concerns about a breach of the ASA Code (Edition 12) rule 1.7 (Unreasonable delay). The ASA emphasised the need for a timely response from companies, reiterating their responsibility to adhere to this aspect in their future interactions.

The complaints pertained to the prominent appearance of Mount, who is under 25 years old, in an advertisement for gambling-related services—a violation according to the CAP Code. 

According to the CAP Code, individuals under 25 years old should not feature significantly in marketing communications for gambling services, except in cases where betting can be directly placed through a transactional facility. 

While FreeBetsDotCom's service is not a gambling platform itself, it facilitates interactions with gambling services. The ASA considered it irresponsible to feature an individual under 25 years old playing a significant role in such ads. In this case, the central focus of the ad was an image of Mount, who was 24 years old when the ad was published. 

Given the nature of the advertisement promoting engagement with gambling services and the significant role played by an individual under 25 years old, the ASA concluded that it breached the CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 1.3 (Social responsibility).

As a consequence, the ASA ruled that the ad should not be displayed again in its reported form. XLMedia has been instructed to refrain from featuring individuals under 25 in significant roles within marketing communications for services leading consumers to interact with gambling services. The matter was also referred to CAP's Compliance team for further action.

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