Gaming site ad banned by regulator

LONDON - The Advertising Standards Authority has removed an email promotion for online poker site Betfair, after it distributed an email appearing to show a photograph of a young girl of 15.

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The watchdog, along with a member of the public, objected that the ad, featuring "Annette_15" with the line "EXPERIENCE IS MEASURED IN GAMES, NOT YEARS" was irresponsible, and also featured someone under 25 years of age.

Betfair said it did not believe the ad would encourage children and young people to gamble as its marketing was targeted at over 18-year-olds and its site had technical age restrictions.

Ms Obrestad was featured in the ad due to her standing as a poker professional and champion. She was an adult, at 20 years of age, but the advertiser said it would not use her again in its UK marketing material.

The ASA felt that Ms Obrestad’s online handle in the ad, Annette_15, together with the strapline, implied she was much younger than 20 and thus the ad was likely to appeal to children and young people.

By seeming to represent a 15 year old poker champion the ad could encourage young people to gamble and was therefore irresponsible.

The CAP Code stated that no one under 25 years of age should be shown gambling in marketing material.

On both these points, the ad breached the CAP Code and must not appear again in its current form.