An advertisement for an Irish betting website has recently been banned by England’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).
The betting site, Paddy Power featured a controversial ad with Floyd Mayweather in August ahead of his multi-million dollar boxing match against Conor McGregor. Mayweather, who endorsed the company was featured on the ad which a headline said, “ALWAYS BET ON BLACK.”
The ASA stated via BBC that the ad, which ran in the Evening Standard and Metro newspapers in August was “likely to cause serious offense on the grounds of race.”
The ASA said that they received nine complaints about the ad and had concerns that the message encouraged betters to bet based on race.
“We acknowledged that the headline claim did not make a negative statement about Floyd Mayweather’s race and had endorsed him to win the match,” said the ASA in their ruling.
“We also acknowledged that Floyd Mayweather had authorized the claim.
“However, we considered that readers would nevertheless be offended by the invitation to always bet on the outcome of a boxing match based on a boxer’s race, and the message that the boxing match was a fight between two different races.”
Paddy Power was warned to not make the mistake again.
Paddy Power said in the ruling that “the ad was not intended to cause offense on the grounds of race. They said the headline was a gambling related pun as the fight was taking place in Las Vegas and “betting on black” was a roulette reference. They acknowledged that the headline referred to Floyd Mayweather’s race, but said it was not used in a derogatory, distasteful or offensive manner and the overall tone of the ad was light-hearted and humorous. They said the early pay out was not based on Floyd Mayweather’s race but on his experience as a professional boxer compared with Conor McGregor who had never boxed professionally.”
Paddy Power also said the headline was a reference to a quote from Wesley Snipes from the 1992 film Passenger 57.
The gambling site also stated that Mayweather endorsed the ad and also wore their branded underwear during his weigh-in, which also had the headline printed on his briefs. Mayweather also hashtagged #alwaysbetonblack on social media, which the company stated was not part of their deal.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 9/20/2017.