A couple of sportsbooks have come under fire from UK regulators recently for allegedly breaching anti-gambling advertising regulations. The two companies, Unibet and William Hill, were called out by “concerned citizens,” who contacted the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) to lodge complaints over seemingly innocuous public commentaries.
The first was a tweet made by racecourse trainer Nicky Henderson. On October 27, he tweeted, “We’re underway with the jumps and my exclusive @unibet blog is now ready to read …” The complainant, who apparently has too much free time, asserted that the tweet breached codes established by the Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP), believing that Unibet had editorial control over the Twitter account.
Henderson is a brand ambassador for Unibet, but doesn’t speak on behalf of Unibet, per the company’s response to the complaint. The ASA understood that position, but responded by saying that, since Henderson is required to post on his blog about Unibet, the company has control over what he says and is, therefore, responsible for the content. The ASA decided that the tweet had violated CAP Code rules 2.1 and 2.4 and added, “The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Unibet and [Mr.] Henderson to ensure that their future marketing communications were obviously identifiable as such, for example by using an identifier such as ‘#ad.’”
William Hill was more fortunate. A complaint about an ad that ran in conjunction with the World Cup was thought to be in violation of the rules, but the ASA disagreed, deciding in favor of the sportsbook.