A Sky Bet advert fronted by Sky Sports presenter Jeff Stelling has been banned by the UK’s advertising watchdog for being socially irresponsible.
In the ad for the “request a bet” service, Stelling is seen calling on viewers to “spark your sports brain” and ask “how big is your sports noggin”? The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) received two complaints that the ad was irresponsible because it implied that if you had a good knowledge of sports you were likely to be a successful gambler.
Sky Bet, sold by the TV broadcaster for £3.4 billion (€3.9bn) to the owner of PokerStars last year, said the ad made no direct reference to knowledge increasing the chances of winning, but that knowledge of a specific sport “would on the whole increase a consumer’s chances of success”. It added: “Many customers researched, studied and followed sports to a degree which would give them an ‘edge’ over a bookmaker.”
The ASA said the use of Stelling, who viewers would recognise as having a particular expertise in sports, and graphics such as brain waves placed a “strong emphasis” on sports knowledge determining betting success.
“The ad gave an erroneous perception of the extent of a gambler’s control over betting success,” it said. “This gave consumers an unrealistic and exaggerated perception of the level of control they would have over the outcome of a bet and that could lead to irresponsible gambling behaviour.”