ASA bans BETFAIR Advertising
9/15/09 – A controversial Betfair gambling advert has been banned by the Advertising Adverts Authority (ASA) for ‘encouraging’ underage gambling.
The advertisement, distributed by e-mail, showed a picture of a young woman with the tagline “Online experience is measured in games, not years. Join the new breed. Annette_15”.
Poker fans will know that “Annette_15” is the online handle of 20 year old poker champion, Annette Obrestad.
Pokerati reports that the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld the complaint made about the advert, saying it "was likely to have particular appeal to children and young people, and that, by representing a successful young poker player with the implication she was 15 years old, it could encourage young people to gamble and was therefore irresponsible". The ASA also ruled that provisions of the code had been breached as it stated that no-one under 25 years of age should be featured gambling in a marketing communication, or playing a significant role.
In their response, Betfair said it "did not target their marketing at under 18-year-olds". They also said "Ms Obrestad was featured in the ad not because of her age but because of her standing as a poker professional and champion who had had a profound effect on the game".
Despite this, Betfair have given clear instructions to their marketing team to refrain from using Annette Obrestad in UK consumer directed marketing and apologized for the error.