Paddy Power Called Out for Using Harmful Language in Gambling Ads

by Natasha Lyndon - Monday, December 6th, 2021 10:19

Paddy Power Betting shop

Flutter Entertainment-owned Paddy Power will no longer refer to betting as ‘risk-free’ in any of its marketing and promotional material.

The British Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said that it had received a complaint about the use of the term by the UK licensed casino and bookmaker. The complaint related to an online promotional campaign run by ‘The Sun’ newspaper where players were offered a ‘£20 risk free first bet’ at Paddy Power. The offer would see a stake returned on a player’s first bet if they lost.

The ad ran as part of a multi-format campaign promoting gambling on sporting events held both in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland.

A spokesperson for the ASA confirmed that Flutter had already implemented changes to remove the term and the complaint was not upheld:

“A complainant challenged whether the ad was socially irresponsible because it suggested that gambling was risk free. Flutter Entertainment plc said that they had been working towards ending the use of the ‘risk free’ wording in their ads. We welcomed Flutter’s willingness to make changes to their advertising, and their assurance that they would not promote gambling as being potentially ‘risk free’ in future marketing communications.”

A spokesperson for Paddy Power told the Business Post that the company had no comment on the ASA case. However, she did note that there were no restrictions on the use of the term ‘risk-free’ in promotions in Ireland and that the company had already intended to remove it in the near future.

Flutter’s planned move is believed to be in response to wider restrictions on gambling that could see advertising prohibited in Ireland. The Irish government has recently announced the establishment of a regulator and new laws that will ban free bets and place tight restrictions on promotions.

This is the third time in the last two months that Flutter has been called out for placing problem gamblers in harm’s way with the most recent being an offer of free spins to known problem gamblers.

Natasha Lyndon

Based in London, Natasha is a former sports journalist with experience working for some of the biggest athletes & brands in the world of sports and iGaming.