ASA censures Betfred over live casino ad on Minecraft programme

Ad for operator’s live dealer offering ran on the Roku streaming platform around YouTube content deemed to “appeal particularly to under-18s”.  

Betfred has been reprimanded by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) after one of the operator’s live casino ads appeared during a Minecraft TV programme.

In the rulings published today, 20 December, the watchdog slammed Betfred for an advert for Live Betfred Casino, which was seen during on the PrestonPlayz channel via OTT streaming platform The Roku Channel, broadcasted on 17 April 2023.

The ad included a voiceover which stated: “Welcome to Betfred Casino. Here you can play a range of slot and table games or take a seat in our live casino.”

The complaint challenged whether the ad was directed at those under the age of 18 through the selection of media that was used and the context in which said media appeared in.

PrestonPlayz, a YouTuber with almost 15 million subscribers, produces videos on Minecraft, a video game extremely popular with children.

In response to the complaint, Betfred said that whenever the operator bought media, it did due diligence checks to ensure compliance with the CAP Code and that any third-party agency it used was also compliant with the rules.

The operator said the advert in question was sourced via its own media agency, and that Betfred has instructed the agency that the ad should be broadcast to adults only and that any content that may appeal to under-18s must be removed.

The agency confirmed to Betfred that it had relayed this information to Roku at the start of the ad campaign and that its target audience was based on third-party survey data of those over 16. 

The Warrington-based bookmaker argued that to access Roku’s services, users needed to create an account and confirm they were over 18. Betfred said that as Roku “required registered users to be over 18, the viewers of PrestonPlayz must have been over the age of 18”.

Betfred added that should someone under the age of 18 had used an account to access content, this was “beyond their control” and that it would constitute a breach of Roku’s terms of use.

Betfred also said the show was not under the “kids-directed” category but did concede that it was “disappointed that the standards they put in place internally failed due to actions outside of their direct control”.

Following the complaint, Betfred said it will continue working with external partners to ensure that future ads complied with the CAP Code. 

Roku confirmed to the ASA that Betfred’s ad was allowed to be shown due to the third-party content provider not accurately tagging the PrestonPlayz channel as “Made for Kids”.

Despite Betfred’s challenges, the ASA upheld the complaint after ruling that the programme in question was “directed at children” and that PrestonPlayz was “likely to appeal particularly to under-18s”.

The ASA said the programme featured an array of vivid colours and a presentation style similar to that of a children’s TV show, while the presenter acted in a more outlandish way, much like a children’s TV presenter.

The ASA also noted that while Betfred targeted the ads based on “adult behaviours”, such as those who had used sports betting sites and were aged 25 to 44, these criteria were insufficient to prevent the ad from being viewed “around a programme directed at children”.

Following its investigation, the ASA said the ad breached the CAP Code, could not appear again and that in future Betfred should ensure its ads are properly targeted. 

Speaking to EGR, a Betfred spokesperson said: “All our marketing activity goes through a robust framework of approval, and it is disappointing when the standards we put in place fail because of actions out of our direct control. We will reinforce our commitment to responsible marketing with all our media partners.”

 

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