ASA warns Betway over Declan Rice prank video

8 January 2020

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), the UK’s gambling regulator has upheld a complaint against gambling operator Betway for a YouTube ad featuring a footballer under the age of 25.

The Betway YouTube account posted a video on 19 October 2019 featuring 20-year-old West Ham United midfielder Declan Rice, titled “Declan Rice car clamp prank.” The video depicted a prank being played on Rice.

The video ended with the operator's current slogan “Heed Your Hunch” and its logo appearing on screen, alongside a responsible gambling message and a reminder that players must be at least 18.

The video received a complaint under the grounds that it broke  CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 16.3.14, which states that, “no-one who is, or seems to be, under 25 years old may be featured gambling or playing a significant role” in marketing communications.

Betway acknowledged that Rice was 20 years old and played a prominent role in the video, but said that the video was not a marketing communication but rather editorial content.

Betway argued that, as that the video did not feature a player in a sporting context, did not refer to a specific market, odds or promotions and that there was no link to the Betway website where a bet could be placed, it should not be considered an ad.

The ASA, however, ruled that the video was an ad and upheld the compaint. The body noted that the video appeared on the Betway YouTube channel and featured sportsmen who consumers would be able to place bets on in the future, who were wearing West Ham football shirts, which features a prominent Betway logo, as well as the appearance of the word Betway and its slogan at the end of the video.

The ASA said that the inclusion of the slogan “encouraged consumers to think about placing a bet."

As a result, the ASA determined that the video “was directly connected with the supply of Betway’s services and was therefore within the remit of the CAP Code.”

The ASA ruled that the ad must not appear again in its current form, and told Betway to ensure they do not feature individuals under the age of 25 in prominent roles in advertisements in the future.