An advert for William Hill that featured on dating app Tinder has been banned by the UK regulator due to its linking of gambling with sexual success.

William Hill

A paid-for message from William Hill on March 11 stated: “Stuck in the friend zone? You won't be for much longer if you use this Cheltenham free bet offer.” It was followed by a link to download the operator’s app.

William Hill argued that it was not their intention to link gambling with sexual success and that they had removed the ad and were in the process of conducting a full review of existing content on the platform.

While acknowledging that William Hill had removed the ad, the Advertising Standards Authority ruled that it breached its code of conduct and must not appear again in such a form.

“We considered that the text ‘Stuck in the friend zone? You won't be for much longer if you use this Cheltenham free bet offer’ suggested that those who gambled would be more likely to develop a friendship into a sexual relationship and therefore linked gambling with sexual success,” the ASA stated, citing a breach of CAP Code (edition 12) rules and (Gambling).

Meanwhile, William Hill has stated in a trading update that its full-year performance remains on track.

Online net revenue was up eight per cent in the year up to April 30, reflecting the contribution from the acquired MR Green, with US revenues up 48 per cent from operations in the seven states that have regulated sports betting.

Overall, group net revenue was up by two per cent.

William Hill CEO Philip Bowcock said: "Online continues to show good momentum as we focus on growing our mass market customer base, while retail has begun to adapt to the new £2 machine gaming stake limit.

“Just one year on since PASPA was overturned William Hill has doubled the sports wagering it handles in the US, seen record performances at the Super Bowl and March Madness, is live in all seven states to have allowed sports betting and expects to enter further states soon, with Indiana and Iowa the most recent states to pass bills to legalise sports betting.”