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Recent guidance from the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority states that gambling adverts should not “unduly pressure the audience to gamble.” Live-odds adverts display current betting odds during breaks in televised soccer, e.g., “Kylian Mbappe to score next, 9-to-1.” In this preprint, it is argued that the 63 “live-odds” TV adverts shown over 32 matches by 5 bookmakers during the 2018 soccer World Cup do not comply with the regulator’s intentions. Live-odds were advertised as being inherently unstable. In total, 15 adverts showed a recent improvement in odds. Of these, 10 adverts were for “flash odds . . ., which means that if you’re not quick enough, they could be gone in a flash.” And 36 adverts were shown during the half-time break. There were common themes across bookmakers’ live-odds advertising, supporting previous studies on how live-odds adverts align with probabilistic cognitive illusions. We believe that sufficient evidence exists to justify banning live-odds adverts.
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