ASA reverses earlier adverse Sky Bet “Request a Bet” ruling

We reported in March 2019 on a controversial ASA ruling against an August 2018 TV advert promoting Sky Bet’s “Request a Bet” service, explaining why we considered it to be a particularly harsh ruling by the ASA.

Unusually, the ASA has today published a fresh ruling that reverses that earlier ruling. Unfortunately we cannot lay claim to that decision having been prompted by David Clifton’s current Licensing Expert article for SBC News (entitled “Question Time – a review of the UKGC’s second Enforcement Report”), in which he cited the March ruling as an example of why he has considerable sympathy with gambling operators who fail to understand the ASA’s logic in some cases. However, we are encouraged that we were clearly justified in questioning whether the ASA’s original ruling was correct.

By reversing its earlier decision, the ASA is now confirming that the complaint that led to its original investigation is ‘not upheld’. The ASA’s new assessment reads as follows:

The ad promoted the ‘Request a Bet’ service which enabled consumers to build their own bet, which was highlighted through the depiction of various odds and on-screen graphics. The ad contained a number of references to the role of sports knowledge in betting, such as “spark your sports brain” and “how big is your sports noggin”, and the ASA considered that these would be understood as referencing the potential to use sports knowledge when building a complex bet.

The ad focused on the features of the particular betting service being promoted and we did not consider that it irresponsibly exaggerated the role which sports knowledge played in achieving betting success. The phrase “in sport anything does happen” explicitly recognised the uncertain nature of sporting outcomes. We therefore concluded that the ad was not socially irresponsible and did not breach the Code.

We investigated the ad under BCAP Code rules 17.3 and 17.3.1 (Gambling), but did not find it in breach