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The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has ruled that an advertisement published by bet365 on Twitter (now X) must not appear again in its current form.

The ruling refers to an advert published on the social media platform in February 2023, and featured former Arsenal footballer Granit Xhaka.

The ad featured footage of a goal scored by Xhaka, who at the time played for Arsenal but now plays for Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen, as well as being captain of Switzerland’s national team.

Originally, the tweet was published by the Sky Sports Premier League Twitter account, and was subsequently reshared and promoted by bet365 using Twitter’s Amplify feature.

Amplify places advertisers’ content before the main content of a video, which bet365 said was intended “to replicate the broadcasting of ads ahead of sport content on television”.

It argued that the Sky-produced video which followed its ad was not therefore an advert for bet365 in and of itself.

The operator added that controls were in place to ensure the content would only be promoted to Twitter users aged 25 and over.

In response, the ASA said that because bet365 had promoted the original tweet, “we considered that they had incorporated all of the tweet’s contents into their advertising, and the whole tweet was therefore an ad for bet365.”

It also reiterated previously issued guidance that “UK footballers who played for top clubs were considered high-risk in terms of how likely they were to be of strong appeal to under-18s.”

While the ASA determined that the ad would have been acceptable where under-18s could effectively be excluded from seeing it, but that because Twitter users can verify their own age without robust checks, advertisers cannot guarantee that audiences there are over the age of 18.

Bet365 is just the latest operator to fall foul of ASA rules.

Two Ladbrokes ads have been banned by the regulator in recent months, with one featuring top-flight football managers and another featuring social media influencer and boxer Jake Paul.

Elsewhere, a BetVictor ad featuring Spanish footballers Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets was deemed “irresponsible” by the ASA and was ordered to be removed.

Curiously, another complaint brought against bet365 in June, related to an ad featuring boxer Chris Eubank Junior, was not upheld by the ASA.

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