A social media influencer has apologised for her role in a breach of the UK advertising watchdog’s rules on gambling promotions.


The Advertising Standards Authority pulled up Festival Free Bets, which collates betting offers, over an advert posted on X, formerly Twitter, in March this year that featured Astrid Wett in a promotion for horseracing’s Cheltenham Festival.

By incorporating Wett, who was 23 years old at the time the advert was posted on the platform, the ASA said Festival Free Bets breached the CAP Code rule that no one who is, or seems to be, under 25 years old, must play a “significant role” in marketing communications for gambling services.

The only exception, the ASA said, is for marketing communications where a “bet could be placed directly through a transactional facility, for instance, a gambling operator’s own website and the person is the subject of the bet.”

The ASA said it was “concerned” at Festival Free Bets’ “apparent disregard for the Code” as it did not respond to the investigation.

Wett, as relayed by the ASA, apologised and admitted she was unaware of the age restrictions for adverts for gambling services. She assumed that being over 18 years old was sufficient to promote such content, the ASA said.

“She apologised for her breach of the Code and said she was committed to ensuring compliance with all relevant guidelines,” the watchdog added.

“Although we acknowledged that Festival Free Bets was not itself a licensed gambling provider, using it would place consumers in a position where they would be interacting with gambling services,” it said.

“We therefore considered it would be irresponsible to feature someone who was aged under 25 playing a significant role in their ads.

“The image of Astrid Wett was the central focus of the ad and we considered that she therefore played a significant role in it. We understood she was 23 years old at the time the ad was published.

“Because the ad was for a service that was intended to facilitate gambling and featured someone who was aged under 25 playing a significant role, we concluded that it was irresponsible.”

The ASA has ordered Festival Free Bets not to run the ad in its original format again and ensure it complied with age restrictions in the future.