All bets are off

The bookie may never lose, but on this occasion the regulator has sided with airlines that complained about Irish betting firm Paddy Power’s national press advert which put odds on the next airline to go bust.


Paddy Power’s advert appeared after a a couple of high-profile airline collapses this September, causing consternation among some of the listed airlines and prompting a complaint to UK advertising watchdog, the ASA. The complaint was the advert denigrated the airlines listed because it implied they might go into administration.


The bookmaker argued it provides odds for topical news story and that after two airlines entered administration, says it received “numerous requests” for odds on which airline would be next. It considered betting on airlines going into administration to be a legitimate market and notes it proved one of its most popular non-sports markets for September.


But while acknowledging the betting market was driven by popular demand and the odds were not manipulated, the ASA concluded “such a betting market inevitably suggested that airlines were at risk of entering administration and that some airlines were more at risk of doing so than others; the advert suggested that the airlines it featured were at risk.” Consequently it concluded that because the advert suggested named airlines, particularly those with the shortest odds, might go into administration, it had unfairly discredited those businesses.


Paddy Power has been told the advert cannot appear again in its current form, while for its part the bookmaker says it has closed betting on the next airline to enter administration and has no plan to run the campaign in future.


Click here for the ASA ruling


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