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ASA Upholds Ruling Against Betfred Over Anthony Joshua Ads Due To Under-18 Appeal

Cai Parry
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Betfred have been ruled to have breached CAP Code by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) over ads posted on Twitter featuring former world champion boxer Anthony Joshua.

Advertising Standards Agency Rule Betfred Ads In Breach Of CAP Code

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has deemed that Betfred are in breach of CAP Code over tweets posted by the operator advertising an upcoming fight involving ex-world champion boxer Anthony Joshua.

Betfred have been ordered to remove three posts that were made in March and April which included Joshua being interviewed by Dom McGuinness about his diet, how he prepares for his fights, and his mentality when he’s fighting.

ASA ruled that the advertisements included an individual who was likely to be of appeal to people under the age of 18, and it comes as part of wider work by the watchdog in banning gambling ads that appeal to under-18s thanks to strengthened rules. The advertisement was identified as part of an investigation using AI to search for online ads that could be in breach of the new rules.

Betfred responded by claiming that their social media accounts were blocked to those under the age of 18, and on platforms without strong age verification processes – the campaigns targeted users aged 25 and over, with relative interests.

They also acknowledged that Joshua has a substantial social media presence, however the overwhelming majority of his following are adults and that boxing is an adult-orientated sport.

Joshua has a total of 7.2 million followers in the UK, and Betfred believe that approximately just 280,000 of those are under the age of 18, although that total excludes Snapchat as they were unable to collect UK-specific data.

Overall, the boxer has 29.3 million followers across all platforms and regions, with 1.1 million of those registered as being under the age of 18.

The ASA said:  “Although they made up a small proportion of his total followers, we considered that over 1.1 million followers aged under 18 was a significant number in absolute terms.

“We therefore considered that, because he had such large numbers of social media followers who were under 18, Mr Joshua was of inherent strong appeal to under-18s.”

Betfred have confirmed that they will be seeking an independent review, and that the ASA’s decision is ‘unjust’.

Cai Parry
Cai Parry

Cai Parry is a sports writer that has experience working for Nottingham Forest FC, Burton Albion FC, and the Football Association of Wales. Since the 2019/20 season, Cai has been an accredited football journalist in the Cymru Premier, creating matchday content for the likes of Y Clwb Pêl-Droed and welshfootie. Cai has also recently graduated from the University of Derby with a degree in Football Journalism (BA Hons).