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Cheltenham Pic Lands Influencer in Hot Water with ASA

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A social media influencer has apologised for her role in a breach of the UK Advertising Standard Agency’s rules on gambling promotions following a post on her X (formerly Twitter) page.

The post by Astrid Wett, seen on March 12, 2024, for Festival Free Bets, a company that collated betting offers, featured an image of Astrid Wett at Cheltenham Racecourse. 

The complainant challenged whether the ad breached the rules on gambling advertising because it featured Astrid, who was under 25 years old. Influencers often promote gambling companies, whether casino sites or bookmakers, but strict regulations are put in place.

Festival Free Bets did not respond to the ASA’s enquiries. 


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The Social Influencer’s Response

Responding to the complaint, Astrid Wett acknowledged that she took matters of social responsibility seriously and understood the gravity of promoting responsible behaviour, especially regarding gambling.  

Wett eventually apologised and said that she was ‘unaware of the age restrictions for ads for gambling services outlined in the CAP Code.’

Wett may have naively assumed that being over 18 years old was sufficient to promote such content.

Concern Over Lack of Response

The lack of response by Festival Free Bets raised concerns for the ASA over their apparent disregard for the Code and ruled that they had breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 1.7 (Unreasonable delay).

The ASA reminded Festival Free Bets of their responsibility to respond promptly to enquiries and told them to do so in the future. The social influencer said she was committed to ensuring compliance with all relevant guidelines. 

Responsibility to Consumers and Society

The CAP Code states: “marketing communications must be prepared with a sense of responsibility to consumers and to society. In addition, that no one who was, or seemed to be, under 25 years old could be featured playing a significant role in marketing communications for gambling services, apart from marketing communications where a bet could be placed directly through a transactional facility, for instance, a gambling operator’s own website and the person is the subject of the bet.” 

The ASA’s Conclusion

The ASA said: “Although we acknowledged that Festival Free Bets was not itself a licensed gambling provider, using it would place consumers in a position where they would be interacting with gambling services. We therefore considered it irresponsible to feature someone who was under 25 playing a significant role in their ads.” 

The image of Astrid Wett was the central focus of the ad and the ASA considered that she played a significant role in it. 

As Wett was only 23 years-old at the time of publication and the service was intended to facilitate gambling and featured someone who was under 25 playing a significant role, the ASA concluded that it was irresponsible. 

The Ruling

The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 1.3 (Social responsibility). 

The ASA said: “We told Festival Free Bets to ensure they did not feature individuals who were, or seemed to be, under 25 years old playing a significant role in marketing communications for services that would lead consumers to interact with gambling providers. We referred the matter to CAP’s compliance team.” 

The case highlights the fact that influencers and companies need to be aware of age restrictions and guidelines when promoting gambling services. It is essential to follow advertising standards and regulations to maintain trust and credibility in the industry. 

The ASA has said that the ad must not appear again in the form complained of. 

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