Jake Paul gambling advert banned by watchdog as YouTuber has 'strong appeal to under-18s'

Jake Paul gambling advert banned by watchdog as YouTuber has 'strong appeal to under-18s'

Related video: Jake Paul says he lost to Tommy Fury due to NSFW excuse


Jake Paul is arguably one of the most well-known influencers in the world right now, but unfortunately for gambling firm Ladbrokes, the YouTuber-turned-boxer’s widespread appeal has landed them in a bit of trouble with the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

The independent advertising watchdog, which regulates the advertising industry, enforces rules drawn up by the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP), which has some pretty strict rules when it comes to gambling ads.

In addition to requiring said adverts to be “socially responsible” and “protect children … from being harmed or exploited”, the CAP’s code states marketing communications must not be “likely to be of strong appeal to children or young persons, especially by reflecting or being associated with youth culture”.

“They must not include a person or character whose example is likely to be followed by those aged under 18 years or who has a strong appeal to those aged under 18,” it reads.

After Ladbrokes shared a promoted tweet in February featuring Paul – following his defeat to Tommy Fury – in which Twitter users were encouraged to vote on “what’s next for Jake Paul”, a single complaint was made to the ASA as to whether it may be in breach of the Code.

Responding to the ASA’s enquiries, the betting company noted the advert contained no calls to action, promotions or links back to its website – and was “age-gated” so only users who had confirmed their age as being over 18 could see it.

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The ad was specifically targeted at users aged 25 and over, receiving close to 16,500 impressions with just over 47 per cent of these being from individuals aged between 20 and 29 years.

Ladbrokes also cited demographics for Paul’s following across several social media platforms, showing that the percentage of users aged between 13 and 17 years old was below 20 per cent on Instagram, YouTube and TikTok.

On Twitter, zero per cent of his followers were reportedly registered as being under 18.

The company also directed ASA to the watchdog’s own guidance on “protecting under-18s” from advertising about gambling and lotteries, in which it states “sports like … boxing … are more adult-oriented and unlikely to be of inherent ‘strong’ appeal” to children and young people.


However, in a decision which saw the regulator uphold the complaint against Ladbrokes, the ASA ruled there was still a responsibility to comply with the rule about not appealing to under-18s because the advert “appeared in a medium where under-18s could not be entirely excluded from the audience”.

It continued: “CAP guidance stated that sportspeople involved in clearly adult-oriented sports who were ‘notable’ stars with significant social media and general profiles which made them well-known to under-18s were considered moderate risk in terms of how likely they were to be of strong appeal to under-18s.

“We also considered that Jake Paul would primarily be known for making YouTube videos and that he had a large social media following. We acknowledged that he had within the last few years turned to boxing.

“However, because of his career on YouTube, we considered that he had a high profile within the sport and was well known outside of the sport and social media.”

Although they noted Paul had no followers aged under 18 on Twitter, where the ad was located, the ASA concluded the content creator was still of “inherent strong appeal” to under-18s because “such large numbers” of his followers were in that demographic.

They also mentioned Paul’s appearance on the Disney Channel series Bizaardvark between 2016 and 2018 about two teenagers, with the target audience for the show likely to be “around the same age”.

As such, they found Paul still had a “strong appeal” to under-18s and that Ladbroke’s advert was “irresponsible”.

Not the first time Paul and “irresponsible” have appeared in the same sentence, to be honest…

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