The UK Advertising Standard Authority (ASA) has scolded Paddy Power over a recent advertisement the regulator claims is, “misleading.” While there isn’t much Paddy Power can do about the bureaucratic slap on the wrist, the whole episode reeks of government overreach.

The ad in question features actor Kayvan Novak of Fonejacker answering what is clearly a fake Paddy Power complaint line. In the ad, a fake caller repeatedly asks Novak if Paddy Power’s Cheltenham bonus offer was available to, “everyone.”

Novak answers the caller by saying that the bonus was, indeed, available to, “everyone, even riff-raff.”

That innocuous, and clearly humorous, statement prompted at least a dozen UK residents to file complaints with the ASA. These callers, clearly concerned about the potential of riff-raff not getting the opportunity to gamble on horse races, pointed out that the offer was not, in fact, available to everyone.

As it turns out, they were right.

According to a report in the Guardian, approximately 0.5% of Paddy Power customers are not eligible for this, or any other, bonus. The reason they can’t access Paddy Power bonuses is because they fall under the label of people who could be, “… abusing the offer or using the offer to guarantee profits regardless of the outcome.”

This group is the very embodiment of the word, riff-raff and that was enough to earn the ASA’s scorn. The humorless agency scolded Paddy Power saying:

Because we considered that consumers, including those who were subject to account restrictions, would infer from the ad that everyone could take up the promotion, when that was not the case, we concluded it was misleading.

While the admonishment doesn’t carry any penalties for Paddy Power, it’s definitely a victory for riff-raff everywhere.

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