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Can retired footballers appear in gambling ads?

Soccer betting
Monday, 20 March 2023 By Mike Llewellyn, Jack Wood

On 1 October 2022, the UK advertising codes, the UK Code of Non-Broadcast Advertising and Direct & Promotional Marketing (“CAP Code") and the UK Code of Broadcast Advertising (“BCAP Code), were updated to impose tighter restrictions on the content of gambling ads. These updates saw a shift in language from the previous prohibition of gambling ads with “particular appeal” to under-18s to an updated prohibition of gambling ads that are likely to have “strong appeal” to under-18s.

These updated rules preclude ads from featuring a “person or character”, or for promoting gambling products associated with certain “activities”, which have strong appeal to under-18s. The updated rules were accompanied by lengthy guidance on their implementation (“ASA Guidance”).

The Advertising Standards Authority (“ASA”) had previously issued rulings against a Ladbrokes for an ad that featured current Premier League footballers Philippe Coutinho, Jesse Lingard and Kalidou Koulibaly (read more here1 ), as they are categorised as “high risk” persons by the ASA, ruling that the ad must not re-appear in its current form. 

The ASA has issued two further rulings, under its updated rules that prohibit gambling ads with “strong appeal” to under-18s,  which included the appearance of former England footballers Peter Crouch and Micah Richards.

These latest rulings, on Paddy Power and SkyBet ads, provide useful lessons for advertisers to analyse whether featuring retired sportspersons (and particularly those involved in punditry) in their gambling advertisements will also breach the ASA’s updated restrictions.

This article explores:

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Written by

Mike Llewellyn

Mike Llewellyn

Mike Llewellyn is a director in the Intellectual Property & Technology Practice and the Sports & Entertainment Industry Group.

Mike’s practice focuses on advising clients on the exploitation of commercial rights, with a particular focus on the sports and gambling industries on an international basis.

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Jack Wood

Jack Wood

Jack is a Trainee Solicitor at Squire Patton Boggs based in London.

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