McGregor’s hiatus, which was initially due to the impending arrival of his first child, who was born in May, was extended in June when it was announced that he will box undefeated pugilist Floyd Mayweather.
Paddy Power noted that the headline was a famous quote from the 1992 film Passenger 57, during which Wesley Snipes asked: “Do you ever play roulette?”
First published on August 23 in the Evening Standard newspaper, the advert ran with the headline claim “Always Bet On Black” alongside an image of Mayweather.
Nine readers complained to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) that the headline contained an obvious reference to Mayweather’s race and was likely to cause serious or widespread offence.
Despite the reported racial connotations, the advertising campaign was endorsed by Floyd Mayweather who took the decision to wear Paddy Power trousers embroidered with the slogan at the Las Vegas weigh in.
Paddy Power said it did not believe the advertisement was derogatory, distasteful or offensive. In a statement Paddy Power defended their decision to use the slogan, stating: “The line was approved by Mayweather who saw it as a humorous dig at his rival before the fight”.
In its official ruling, the ASA agreed with complainants in that the headline would be interpreted to be a pun on Mayweather’s race and some consumers could take offence to the ad.
“For those reasons, we concluded that the ad was likely to cause serious offence on the grounds of race”.
The gambling site also stated that Mayweather endorsed the ad and also wore their branded underwear during his weigh-in, which also had the headline printed on his briefs.