ASA rules against William Hill

United Kingdom

On 15 May 2019, the Advertising Standards Authority (“ASA”) upheld a complaint against an ad from WHG International Limited ("William Hill") shown on the dating app Tinder. The ASA found it was in breach of the UK Code of Non-Broadcast Advertising ("Cap Code") as it linked gambling to seduction, sexual success or enhanced attractiveness.

The Ad

The ad stated "Stuck in the friend zone? You won't be for much longer if you use this Cheltenham free bet offer. Join William Hill with code W40 and bet £10 on any Cheltenham race to get 4 x £10 free bets. T&Cs apply." The ad was followed by a link to download the William Hill app.

The issue was whether the ad linked gambling to sexual success.

William Hill stated its intention was not to link gambling to sexual success but instead the promotion was supposed to relate the offer in question to the nature of the business it was advertising on, i.e. a dating app. However, William Hill did concede the ad could be interpreted differently. In response to the complaint, it has removed the ad in question and was in the process of reviewing all its existing content on the platform. 

The Decision

The ASA acknowledged that William Hill had taken down the ad. However, it did consider that the text involved suggested that those who gambled more would be more likely to develop a friendship into a sexual relationship and that there was a link between gambling and sexual success. As a result, it found the ad was in breach of CAP Code rules 16.3 and 16.3.8.

A link to the full ASA ruling can be found here.