What are the odds: Multiple Sportsbet ads dismissed by the ASB

By AdNews | 15 July 2014

Sportsbet has managed to set a World Cup record of its own with almost every ad it created for the FIFA World Cup hauled in front of the advertising watchdog.

However the referees have been kind to the betting agency with every complaint dismissed.

Sportsbet attracted national attention when it flew a 46 metre high hot air balloon in the shape of Christ the Redeemer over Melbourne at the start of the World Cup promotions, sparking complaints the stunt was offensive to Christians.

The balloon was adorned with the hashtag #KeepingTheFaith and complaints to the ASB included: “It is deeply offensive and sacrilegious to use the figure of Christ in a soccer jumper and with the Sportsbet Logo as a giant air balloon. Also to advertise gambling.”

Other ads which received complaints included Sportsbet’s World Cup money back special offer which encouraged Sportsbet customers who place a win/draw bet on Australia v Chile by using Christ the Redeemer as a cartoon to advertise the promotion.

Another offending ad featured a female voiceover saying “It’s the world’s biggest Brazilian offer” while a triangular shaped crop of brown hair was being shaved exposing a male’s bald head underneath.

Other complaints about the advertisements included: “As a Christian I find the depiction of Christ supporting gambling belittling to my faith and offensive.”

“I am offended that the advertiser has Jesus Christ giving the thumbs up for sports betting.”

And finally of the biggest Brazilian offer ad: "I object to the advertisement for its sexual innuendo for the time slot it was in. The Brazilian was shaped like female genitalia and the 3rd leg between the man's legs."

“Very offensive graphics and sexual matter. Also offensive to Brazilian nationals as insinuates sexual reference.”

All five cases put before the ASB were dismissed.

See the offending balloon in action below.

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