Advertising Standards Authority dismisses complaints over 888 YouTube ads

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The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has investigated two adverts published on YouTube relating to online gambling operator 888 and declared that neither complaint should be upheld.

The material in question was featured on the Calfreezy YouTube channel, which is run by content creator Callum Airey, in August 2021.

The issues related to two videos, both of which featured ads for the 888poker mobile app, and attracted complaints which claimed that Airey had a large following of young people.

The ASA therefore investigated whether there was a strong possibility that gambling ads on Airey’s channel had been targeted at viewers under the age of 18, or had a particular appeal to children.

In response to the investigation, 888 said that at least 75% of Airey’s followers were over 18, and therefore the ads were not targeted at children. Indeed, upon further inspection, the ASA found that 7.5% of the first video’s audience, and 6% of the second video’s audience were under 18, while the channel’s overall viewing figures showed 8.6% of viewers were under 18.

888 Also pointed out that Airey himself is over 25 years of age, and that the ads featured responsible gambling and ‘18+’ logos, as well as a verbal disclaimer stating that the product advertised was only aimed at customers over the age of 18. Therefore, the operator argued that adequate steps had been taken to ensure the ads did not appeal to children.

In addition, Airey pointed out that the second video, which featured actual poker gameplay, had a smaller proportion of viewers aged under 18 than the first, which did not feature footage of gambling.

The ASA’s assessment concluded that because under 18s were not likely to comprise as much as 25% of the audience that the ads were not targeted at minors and did not breach the CAP code. 

While the ASA conceded that some elements of the videos had the potential to appeal to younger people, for example a demonstration of the ability to ‘throw items’ at other players on a virtual poker table and the appearance of a poker player dressed as a children’s Ken doll toy, the material overall did not have particular appeal to children or young people and therefore did not breach the CAP Code.

No further action in this case was deemed necessary by the regulator.

About the author

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Conor Mulheir

Conor entered the gaming industry in 2018 producing high-level live event content for audiences in London, Amsterdam and São Paulo. From 2020, he went on to report news and commission exclusive content for various gaming media brands before joining iGaming NEXT as editor in January 2022.

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