talkSPORT has been found in breach of its licence for a commercial mention during the Drivetime programme, featuring a betting offer that was no longer available.
The station and advertiser Paddy Power also admitted that the item on 2nd June this year hadn’t been cleared in advance for broadcast. Presenters Adrian Durham and Darren Gough were interviewing a representative of the bookmakers ahead of the football World Cup. Paddy Power was also the show’s sponsor.
A listener complained that the commercial reference for Paddy Power, offering new customers who opened an account the opportunity to place a bet of up to £10 on England winning the World Cup at odds of 100 to 1, was misleading as the promotion was no longer available at the time of broadcast.
UTV-owned talkSPORT told Ofcom that it had not sought clearance from the RACC (Radio Advertising Clearance Centre) for the commercial reference. Any adverts for gambling are required to be checked by the RACC before broadcast under Rule 17.1 of the BCAP Code.
The station apologised, saying it was a “genuine error on the part of the Paddy Power representative” that the offer mentioned wasn’t still available, and admitted that not getting clearance of the script was “an oversight”. Paddy Power had also received five complaints about the same offer not being available, it said.
talkSPORT says it has now introduced a new internal compliance policy for betting promotions with training for all relevant staff.
Despite that, Ofcom has ruled that the station was in breach of its licence on two counts. It said: “We considered the commercial reference, which promoted odds that were no longer available, had materially misled both the complainant and other listeners. As the commercial reference did not comply with the relevant advertising rule, it breached Rule 10.7 of the Code. Talksport Ltd failed to obtain script clearance prior to broadcast of a betting offer described in a commercial reference, as required by Rule 17.1 of the BCAP Code. The commercial reference was therefore in breach of Rule 10.8 of the Broadcasting Code.”
Read the full ruling in this week’s Ofcom Broadcast Bulletin.