Sky Bet ad featuring sports presenter Jeff Stelling banned

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The Advertising Standards Authority of the UK has banned a gambling advertisement featuring Sky Sports presenter Jeff Stelling. The advertisement watchdog has termed the advertisement socially irresponsible. The action was taken following the complaints the authority received.

The TV ad promoted a Sky Bet service that allows gamblers to place wagers on combinations of events happening during a football match, such as the number of corners, red cards, and goals. In the ad for the “request a bet” service, Stelling is seen calling on viewers to “spark your sports brain” and ask “how big is your sports noggin”?

Sky Bet, which ended its association with the TV broadcaster Sky when it was sold for £3.4bn to the owner of PokerStars last year, said the ad made no direct reference to knowledge increasing the chances of winning, but that knowledge of a specific sport “would on the whole increase a consumer’s chances of success”. It added: “Many customers researched, studied and followed sports to a degree which would give them an ‘edge’ over a bookmaker.”

Explaining the ban, the ASA said the use of Stelling, who viewers would recognise as having a particular expertise in sports, and graphics such as brain waves placed a “strong emphasis” on sports knowledge determining betting success.

“The ad gave an erroneous perception of the extent of a gambler’s control over betting success,” it said. “This gave consumers an unrealistic and exaggerated perception of the level of control they would have over the outcome of a bet and that could lead to irresponsible gambling behaviour.”