The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) banned a Sky Bet tweet featuring Gary Neville for inappropriate content. The regulator reportedly ruled that the famous former football player’s clip embedded in the post and predicting the Premiere League winners was likely to make a strong appeal to minors. As yahoo!finance reports, ASA explained that such an appearance represented a violation of the rules on gambling adverts and banned Sky Bet from featuring the celebrity in any content other than adult.
Allegedly Strong Appeal To Minors:
The disputable post reportedly included the ex-footballer’s appearance on YouTube series The Overlap and was featured by the Sky Bet’s logo throughout the video ending with text stating: “Brought to you by Sky Bet.” According to the source, the ASA considers that the Neville’s predictions of Premiere League winners was “likely to be of strong appeal to under-18s” and therefore not compliant with the regulator’s code. yahoo!finance reports that gambling adverts appealing to young people or being associated with youth culture are considered non-compliant by the regulator.
Sky Bet Claims Compliance:
The same source reports that Sky Bet rejected the allegations explaining that the rules governing gambling adverts are referred to adults in the first place as the gambling is not for persons under 18 years of age. They also explained that the Neville’s production, sponsored by the company, was “distinctly adult in tone and did not feature any content of a childish nature,” as reported by yahoo!finance.
The company further argued that the legendary Manchester United player ended his professional career in 2011 and therefore cannot make an appeal on an 18-year old as they might have never seen him play due to the fact that an 18-year old would have been five or six in 2011. But the source reports that the ASA calculated that Neville had around 7.1 million followers on Instagram and X with 135,000 juvenile followers on both social networks.
Adult Content Clause:
The UK gambling ad enforcement authority reportedly launched the investigation in March 2023 to come up with these figures and rule that the overall number was significant and therefore sufficient to qualify the ad as irresponsible. ASA decided to ban the ad and prohibit Sky Bet from featuring Neville or anyone else in any media that may have a strong appeal to minors if the content is not distinctly adult.
As yahoo!finance reports, a spokesman for Sky Bet’s parent company Flutter said: “We fundamentally disagree with this decision and the flawed process which led to this outcome – it defies both precedent and common sense. The ASA did not receive a single complaint from the public or wider stakeholders about the social media post in question.” The spokesman reportedly added that the company will seek “an independent review” of the issue.