ASA Rules Against freebetsdotcom for Featuring Mason Mount in Ad
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has ruled against freebetsdotcom, a company that compiles betting offers from various providers, for a recent Instagram post.
The ad in question, seen on 11 and 12 July 2023, featured Chelsea footballer Mason Mount. The issue raised was whether the ad breached the UK Advertising Code (CAP Code) due to the inclusion of Mason Mount, who is under 25 years old.
The Breach and Lack of Response
The ASA expressed concern over XLMedia plc, the parent company of freebetsdotcom, for not responding to their inquiries regarding the advertisement. This apparent disregard for the Code led to a ruling that XLMedia plc had breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 1.7, which pertains to unreasonable delay. The ASA reminded them of their responsibility to promptly respond to inquiries and urged compliance in the future.
According to the CAP Code, for advertisements related to gambling services, individuals under 25 years of age cannot play a significant role in marketing communications, with a specific exception for cases where bets can be placed directly through a transactional facility, such as a gambling operator’s website. This rule is in place to safeguard younger individuals from exposure to gambling-related content.
The CAP Code also emphasizes the importance of preparing marketing communications with a sense of responsibility to consumers and society. While freebetsdotcom’s service itself was not a gambling platform, it facilitated interactions with gambling services. Consequently, featuring an individual under 25 in their ads was deemed irresponsible, as it could expose younger audiences to gambling content.
The Role of Mason Mount
In the Instagram post, Mason Mount’s image took center stage, making him a significant presence in the ad. Notably, Mason Mount was 24 years old at the time the ad was published, placing him within the age group covered by the CAP Code’s restrictions.
In light of the ASA’s ruling, it was determined that freebetsdotcom’s Instagram ad was in violation of the CAP Code due to its inclusion of an individual under 25 playing a significant role. The ruling emphasizes the importance of adhering to responsible advertising practices, especially in the context of gambling services. Companies are urged to exercise caution and compliance with relevant regulations to ensure they do not expose younger audiences to potentially harmful content.