In the United Kingdom and the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has cleared the 888 UK Limited subsidiary of online casino giant 888 Holdings Limited over allegations that it had marketed its services towards those under the age of 18.
The watchdog used an official press release to detail that the claims related to a pair of advertisements that were aired in August via the ‘Calfreezy’ YouTube channel run by prominent influencer Callum Airey. The organization explained that the two commercials promoted the 888Poker gambling app operated by 888 UK Limited and featured the young English YouTuber extolling the benefits and attractions of the mobile-friendly iGaming innovation.
The ASA declared that it had received complaints from members of the public over allegations that these ads were particularly appealing to children due to Airey’s perceived ‘large following with young people’ and had been specifically ‘directed at those aged below 18 years’. The regulator also disclosed that the 27-year-old host was paid to run the ‘I was YouTubers taxi driver for 24 hours’ and ‘$10,000 YouTuber poker challenge’ 90-second spots although 888 UK Limited had maintained control over their editorial content.
In not upholding the complaints against 888 UK Limited and the ASA stated that it had agreed with Airey that his YouTube channel ‘did not have a large proportion of viewers who were under 18’. As such and the watchdog cited analytics from the YouTuber that showed juveniles constituted only 7.5% and 6% of the audiences for the two adverts while the online conduit’s mean adolescent following stood at a mere 8.6%.
The ASA moreover found that Airey was over the age of 25 and had displayed responsible gambling and 18+ logos on both of the videos while additionally having added a verbal disclaimer. The organization pronounced that this had constituted ‘adequate steps’ in ensuring that the two commercials ‘did not appeal to children’.
Furthermore, the ASA asserted that it had taken evidence from Airey that indicated such moves had ensured the content in question ‘resonated with an older audience’ and was demonstrably not directly appealing ‘to younger children’. The watchdog later noted that the spots featuring games of online poker ‘had a lower under-18 audience’ and confirmed that the YouTube channel ‘had been successful in making sure the videos did not appeal to that age group.’
Read a statement from the ASA…
“For paid-organic content published by third-party users of a platform on behalf of a marketer, we require the marketer to demonstrate that under-18s are not likely to comprise 25% of the audience. Because the figures provided by Airey 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.”