ASA Dismisses Complaints Over 888 Gambling Ads On YouTube Channel

YouTube Gambling Ads ASA

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has dismissed complaints about two YouTube video ads for 888 Holdings.

The two advertisements appeared on Callum Alrey’s Calfreezy YouTube channel back in August 2021 and promoted 888 Holdings gambling apps. Two complainants challenged whether the ads were directed at those under the age 0f 18 and whether they appealed to children as they believed Alrey’s channel to have a large following with young people.

Gambling operator 888 Holdings issued a response stating that they had paid Alrey for the two video ads and retained all editorial control, adding that the first video ad was initially not labelled as an ad but has since been corrected by themselves.

According to CasinoBeats, the operator also argued they had taken steps to ensure the videos did not appeal to children, highlighting that Alrey was over the age of 25 and that the videos featured responsible gambling and 18+ logos, as well as an 18+ verbal disclaimer.

YouTuber Alrey supported 888 Holdings’ argument and shared three screenshots from his analytics for the video ‘I Was YouTubers Taxi Driver For 24 Hours’. The first screenshot revealed that 7.5% of views for the first video ad were under 18, the second revealed that 6% of views for the second video ad were under 18, and the final screenshot revealed that only 8.6% of his overall channel views were under 18.

What They Said

The ASA ultimately dismissed the complaints, noting that it did not find a breach over the advertisements appeal to children. The organisation also noted Alrey’s analytics demonstrated that the ads did not breach the ASA’s threshold of 25% of total viewership being under 18.

They said: “For paid-organic content published by third-party users of a platform on behalf of a marketer, the ASA required the marketer to demonstrate that under 18s were not likely to comprise 25% of the audience.

“Because the figures provided by Mr Alrey showed the 25% threshold had not been breached, which was also supported by his Instagram statistics, and for YouTube the figures were in fact significantly below the threshold, we considered the ads were not directed at under 18s through the selection of media. We therefore concluded that the ads did not breach the code.”

The news comes after the ASA sanctioned Ladbrokes over two irresponsible gambling adverts. The first occurred in February 2021 and the second in July 2021, with the ASA ruling that both television ads depicted problem gambling behaviour and encouraged socially irresponsible gambling behaviour.

What’s more, the ASA last year published its TV Ad Exposure Rate in which the organisation highlighted a “small increase” in the number of children exposed to gambling advertisements between 2019 and 2020.