Reprimanded by the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA), three operators have been sanctioned for displaying adverts on the “Looney Tunes World of Mayhem” app, as the operators have been seen to be inappropriately targeting an underage audience.

Paddy Power Betfair and William Hill have both been found to have been directing advertisements in the mobile app to an audience under the age of 18, while the ASA have ruled that “the lad must not be used again without further, specific targeting to minimise the likelihood of under-18s being exposed to it”.

With the adverts in question being originally shown in February 2019, both have been found to have been encouraging users to deposit funds in order to play arcade games or receive a free bet, which was promoted through the affiliate, Tapjoy.

The advert for Paddy Power Betfair stated: “Betfair Bingo: Register, deposit funds and play Bingo. 1. Simply register as a new user with Betfair. 2. Deposit a minimum of £10. 3. Play arcade games!”. Smaller text stated “+18 T&Cs Apply. *Offer open to new Betfair users only”. Beneath this was a button that stated “Earn [gem emoji] 3126”

The advert for William Hill, meanwhile, displayed the following: “William Hill Vegas – Deposit and bet £10! 1. Open the William Hill Vegas app. 2. Register an account*. 3. Deposit and bet £10**”. Smaller text stated “Application install is optional and reward won’t be provided in connection with an application install. *Offer not available to anyone that has registered before with any William Hill product. **You must bet a minimum of 10 to get your currency. Offer only available to first time depositors”.

William Hill responded to the ruling via confirming that they believed that the ‘ad did not appear to be in accordance with advertising guidelines’ but following on a further inspection, it was confirmed that age-restrictions had been put in place to minimise the potential exposure to betting for an underage audience.

Meanwhile, Betfair stated that they had measures in place in order to prevent exposure to persons under the age of 18, and that they ‘went to great lengths to ensure that by requiring new customers to go through a verification process to set up an account. They said that the ad was placed by Tapjoy, Inc.’

The ruling went on: “Betfair said that Tapjoy classified ads that were only suitable for persons over 18 with either a ”mature” or “mature-plus” rating. Following receipt of the complaint, they discovered that the publisher of the app had erroneously opted in to accept advertising content at a “mature-plus” level for the app.

“The issue was corrected immediately following receipt of the complaint. Betfair said they had now stopped working with Tapjoy.”

William Hill responded to the ruling with a similar response, having ‘acknowledged that it shouldn’t have appeared regardless of who was at fault.