UK Advertising Watchdog Rejects Complaints Over Paddy Power, Sky Bet Ads Celeb Ads

Posted on: February 9, 2023, 11:04h. 

Last updated on: February 9, 2023, 02:54h.

The UK’s advertising watchdog, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), has rejected complaints that Paddy Power and Sky Bet broke guidelines in their recent marketing campaigns. The ADA updated its guidelines last October to ensure gambling ads didn’t appeal to young people.

Paddy Power trade show display
A Paddy Power trade show display. The sports betting company was the subject of a complaint over ads in the UK but did nothing wrong. (Image: Getty Images)

Under these new gambling regulations, ads cannot feature athletes and other high-profile figures. However, the use of some retired athletes is acceptable. That’s because former athletes don’t hold the same attractiveness for younger generations, according to the ASA’s estimations.

Paddy Power tapped former striker Peter Crouch to appear in a couple of the operator’s spots last November. The striker and Premier League record holder – he has the most headed goals in the league’s history – was picked up for two TV commercials before Christmas, as well as other promotional campaigns.

No Longer a Big Star

The ASA began investigating Paddy Power after a complaint was made over the Crouch ads.

In response to the ASA, Paddy Power argued that Crouch didn’t appeal to young audiences because retired from soccer in 2019, a time apparently long enough away from the game to no longer be relevant.

The ASA agreed, adding that Crouch’s primary soccer clubs, Stoke City and Burnley, weren’t significant enough on the international soccer stage to be a threat. It also determined that the complaint was without merit because the 41-year-old Crouch has a low profile on social media.

Since he doesn’t actively use platforms like “TikTok, Facebook, or Twitch,” he wouldn’t be seen by younger people, according to the ASA.

Sky Bet Mics Up Micah

Just a day after the ASA implemented the change, Sky Bet hired retired soccer star Micah Richards. His image appeared in a tweet discussing free bets, resulting in two complaints making their way to the ASA.

Richards spent 10 years with Man City (one on loan to Italy’s Fiorentina) and five with Aston Villa. He retired in 2019 and moved to the analyst’s booth, becoming an announcer for Sky Sports and BBC Sport.

The 34-year-old is also a Man City ambassador and has appeared in numerous soccer TV programs. Because these were broadcast mostly in the late evening, the ASA said they wouldn’t have attracted a lot of younger viewers.

He’s active on social media, but the content mostly targets adult Netizens. The watchdog concluded that this meant that children wouldn’t regularly access his feeds or channels.

Sky Bet responded similarly to Paddy Power, arguing that Richards doesn’t have the same celebrity status as some newer athletes. Therefore, he couldn’t be someone whose image would influence younger people to want to wager on sports.

The ASA ultimately tossed out the complaints against both operators.