Social media influencers have become a crucial part of modern advertising strategies. Their ability to connect with audiences on a personal level makes them invaluable for brands looking to enhance their reach and authenticity. However, this significant shift in marketing dynamics has also introduced complex challenges, especially in highly regulated industries such as iGaming. This post aims to explore these complexities through a recent incident involving social media influencer Astrid Wett and Festival Free Bets, a platform compiling betting offers, and to discuss the future landscape of influencer marketing in the iGaming sector.

In March 2024, a notable incident highlighted the challenges of regulatory compliance in influencer marketing. The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) criticized Festival Free Bets for a promotional advert featuring Astrid Wett, a 23-year-old social media influencer. The ad, promoting the Cheltenham Festival—a renowned horse racing event—was posted on X (formerly Twitter).

The ASA’s concern stemmed from a violation of the CAP Code rule, which mandates that no individual under 25 should play a significant role in marketing communications for gambling services. Despite Wett being over 18, her inclusion in the ad contravened this specific age restriction. The ASA further criticized Festival Free Bets for its apparent disregard for the Code, as the company failed to respond to the investigation.

Wett apologized, admitting she was unaware of the age restrictions for gambling adverts and had assumed that being over 18 was sufficient. The ASA deemed the ad irresponsible and ordered Festival Free Bets to withdraw it and ensure future compliance with age restrictions.

This incident underscores the critical need for influencers and companies in the iGaming sector to be fully aware of and compliant with advertising regulations. It also raises broader questions about the future role of influencers in this industry.

Regulatory bodies like the ASA in the UK are increasingly scrutinizing influencer marketing in the iGaming sector to protect younger audiences and promote responsible gambling. Similar trends are emerging globally. For instance, India’s push for greater responsibility from social media influencers promoting online betting indicates a global move towards more stringent regulations.

With regulatory reforms being implemented, opportunities for influencers in this area might diminish. However, these changes could also lead to a more responsible and sustainable industry. The impact of these reforms remains to be seen, but they are likely to shape the future of influencer marketing in online betting significantly.

Influencer marketing in the iGaming industry is evolving towards a more integrated approach. Traditionally, influencers were engaged through Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) deals, where they were paid based on the results they delivered. Today, however, content creators are becoming brand ambassadors, regularly using and expressing genuine excitement about the iGaming products they promote.

The iGaming industry, encompassing online gambling, sports betting, and casino games, has seen rapid expansion in recent years. In 2021, the industry was estimated to be worth $61 billion annually, with projections of an 86% growth rate by 2028. As the industry evolves, brands are leveraging influencer marketing to build their communication and expand their audience.

Influencer marketing is a powerful way to connect and engage with target audiences, providing a level of authenticity and trust challenging to achieve through traditional advertising channels. However, as the case of Astrid Wett and Festival Free Bets illustrates, it is crucial for both influencers and iGaming companies to navigate the regulatory landscape carefully to ensure responsible and compliant promotional activities.

For Influencers

  1. Understand Regulations: Influencers must familiarize themselves with the regulations governing the industries they represent, ensuring they comply with all age and content restrictions.
  2. Transparent Partnerships: Transparency about commercial partnerships is crucial. Influencers should clearly disclose any sponsored content to their audience.
  3. Ongoing Education: Staying updated on changing regulations and industry standards is essential for maintaining compliance and credibility.

For Companies

  1. Compliance Checks: Companies should conduct thorough compliance checks before launching any influencer marketing campaigns, ensuring all content adheres to regulatory guidelines.
  2. Age Verification: Implementing robust age verification processes can prevent inadvertent breaches like the one involving Astrid Wett.
  3. Training and Support: Providing training and support to influencers can help them understand and navigate the regulatory landscape effectively.

The future of influencer marketing in the iGaming sector will undoubtedly continue to evolve, shaped by regulatory developments, market trends, and the innovative strategies of influencers and companies alike. As the industry grows, the importance of compliance and responsible marketing cannot be overstated. By understanding and adhering to regulatory requirements, influencers and brands can build a more sustainable and trustworthy ecosystem.

Navigating the complexities of regulatory compliance in influencer marketing is no small feat. However, with careful planning, education, and adherence to best practices, influencers and companies can continue to thrive in the ever-evolving iGaming landscape. This proactive approach not only ensures compliance but also enhances the overall credibility and effectiveness of marketing efforts. If you’re a marketer, influencer, or legal professional in the iGaming sector, staying informed and compliant is key to your success. Let’s embrace the future of influencer marketing responsibly and innovatively.

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