British Ad Panel ASA Boots William Hill’s Tinder Ad for Being Too Suggestive

Posted on: May 20, 2019, 02:30h. 

Last updated on: May 20, 2019, 03:22h.

A British regulatory panel last week banned an advertisement posted by sportsbook William Hill on the dating app Tinder saying it went against standards for marketing communication materials.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ordered William Hill in a ruling last week to no longer link gambling activity to sexual success or enhanced attractiveness. (Image:

In March, William Hill posted a paid message on the popular application, which drew one complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). The ASA is an industry-backed organization financed by fees placed on advertising firms and enforces the Committee of Advertising Practice Code, better known as the CAP Code.

(Image: William Hill)

The ad, which also included a link to William Hill’s mobile app, went against British standards because it linked gambling success to sexual prowess, according to the complaint.

Ad Open to Interpretation

Initially, in the response to the complaint, William Hill said the ad was designed to encourage Tinder users to enter into a relationship with them, in a fashion similar to how Tinder users use the app to seek romantic relationships. Prospective customers on Tinder like to “shop around” and they could use the William Hill app to compare odds and point spreads with other sportsbooks.

Upon reflection, (William Hill) agreed that it had the potential to be interpreted differently, but it was not their intention to link gambling to sexual success,” the ASA wrote. They had removed the ad and were in the process of conducting a full review of existing content on the platform.”

Tinder, in its response to the ASA, said its review of the ad determined it was not “socially irresponsible, offensive, or targeting minors.” The company also acknowledged the advertisement was no longer live and it also received no additional complaints about it.

Rev. Alan Smith, the Anglican Bishop of St. Albans and an ardent supporter for gambling regulations, told ITV that William Hill’s Tinder ad left him speechless.

“The gambling industry’s approach to self-regulation appears farcical as more of these adverts are exposed, Smith said. “I fear some betting firms are now operating under a ‘don’t get caught’ mentality.”

In addition to banning the ad, the ASA also reminded William Hill of the guidelines that prohibit any connection between gambling activity and “seduction, sexual success, or enhanced attractiveness.”

American Sportsbooks Establishing Guidelines

The British ruling came one day after the American Gaming Association released a set of guidelines to promote responsible sports betting. The AGA’s statement was not created in response to the William Hill incident. Rather, it was to acknowledge the one-year anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling that opened the door for expanded sports betting across the country.

The Association’s code encourages members to ensure their social media advertisements do not appeal to underage bettors. Unlike Britain’s CAP Code, there are no guidelines in the AGA’s document that refer to sexual content. However, the AGA does encourage its members to abide by “contemporary standards of good taste that apply to all commercial messaging, as suits the medium or context of the message.”