William Hill has landed in hot water over an advertisement that appeared on the Tinder dating app during the Cheltenham Festival.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled the bookmaker had broken the Committees Advertising Practice (CAP) Code by drawing a connection between gambling and sex.
REVIEW: WILLIAM HILL ONLINE BOOKMAKER
The ASA took issue with the following text, which was sent to Tinder users as a text message: “Stuck in the friend zone? You won’t be for much longer if you use this Cheltenham free bet offer.”
The ad included a code for claiming free bets on horse races and a download link for the William Hill betting app.
According to the ASA, the language “suggested those who gambled would be more likely to develop a friendship into a sexual relationship and therefore linked gambling with sexual success”.
The CAP Code forbids any form of marketing that appears to equate a product or service with improved powers of seduction or sexual prowess.
William Hill stood by the advert at first, insisting it was designed to reflect the platform – an app where people search for potential sexual partners.
However, the bookie later admitted the wording could be misinterpreted and removed the ad voluntarily.
No sanctions were issued, but the ASA has warned Hills that the ad must not appear again.