Football Index Sanctioned By The ASA

Viktor Vangelov | Published 22 Aug 2019, 11:22 p.m.

We’ve reported on numerous instances where UK operators have been fined for failing to comply with industry standards. In some cases, operators have only been warned and/or asked to stop broadcasting a particular ad, whereas on other occasions operators were required to pay some pretty hefty fines.

In light of recent events and the increased interest in problem gambling, i.e. the will to fight against it that has been demonstrated by numerous bodies and organisations, we can only expect more operators to be cautioned by the Commission or the Advertising Standards Authority, or both.

BBC covered problem gambling in one of the episodes of Panorama and some of the findings that were presented in the programme show that the awareness of the problem is raised, and more and more punters know their rights and know what to expect from operators. One of the latest examples of operators that have been fined by the Commission is Ladbrokes Coral, and this provider was required to pay an amount of £5.9 million, which is one of the highest fines ever.

Ad Featured 19-Year-Old Jadon Sancho

This time it was the Football Index that was on the receiving end of a regulator decision. But it wasn’t the Gambling Commission that warned them, this time it was the Advertising Standards Authority that got busy with operators that in their opinion failed to meet industry standards.

This Wednesday the ASA concluded that the complaint against BetIndex Ltd, a company that’s in charge of Football Index should be upheld. Football Index is a betting platform that basically works like a stock exchange and enables punters to place bets by trading on individual players, their performance on the pitch but also their media mentions.

In this particular instance, the operator published a Facebook promotion that included the index value of several footballers including Jadon Sancho. The issue with this is that this Borussia Dortmund midfielder is only 19 years old. The text that was published along with the ad named tnhe player the Big Mover, adding that a lot of punters made money off him.

It has been concluded that the ad violated the CAP code, where it is clearly stated that individuals who are under 25 or appear to be under 25 shouldn’t play a significant role in gambling promos. In this case, as it was concluded, Sancho was playing a significant role.

Other Operators Have Been Fined In The Past

According to the CAP code, it is possible for a player who is older than 18 and younger than 25 to participate in a promo, but only if the recipient of the ad is able to place a wager, i.e. they are logged in which means that they had to verify their age and identity.

BetIndex decided to withdraw the ad and stated that they would be obliged to educate their stuff on which types of advertising are acceptable. The company also argued that none of the footballers in the ad played a significant role, which is contrary to the ruling of the ASA.

This is not the first occasion in which the ASA has sanctioned an operator for displaying ads of this kind. In 2015, three operators were required to take down images that featured golfer Jordan Spieth who was 22 at the time.