altThe owners of Bet365 Bingo are the latest operators to fall foul of the Advertising Standards Authority rulings. Last week, after receiving just one complaint regarding an online banner ad, the ASA rapped Bet365’s proverbial knuckles over two issues which the complainant felt were misleading. The viewer came across a banner ad for the Bet365 Bingo parent company online, which stated “£200 free bets for new customers – join now.” Underneath in smaller text were the words “Terms and Conditions Apply.” They contacted the Advertising Standards Authority to complain that the advert did not make clear that 1) customers would need to make a substantial financial commitment in order to claim the £200 free bets, and 2) both the bonus and the deposit required had to be wagered through three times before any funds could be withdrawn from the player’s account. Both these issues related to CAP Codes 3.1, 3.23. 3.3, 3.9, and 8.18.

After asking Bet365 to response to the complaint, the ASA was told by the operator that UK players were used to the standard industry terminology referred to as ‘free bets’ and were aware that these kinds of offers usually had conditions associated with them. Following a previous ruling by the Advertising Standards Authority, they had already added the text ‘Terms and Conditions Apply” to the banner advert, as well as ensuring that the same wording, along with a hyperlink, was including on the landing page that the consumer would arrive on after clicking the ad. The operator said that due to limited space in the banner ad, they had taken measures to include as much detail about the T’s and C’s in the advert as possible, and directed viewers to an easily-accessible alternative source where the full conditions were prominently stated.

After assessing Bet365’s response, the ASA decided that the terms and conditions surrounding the advertised “Free Bets” was significant and were likely to affect whether a consumer would sign-up to the site or not. They also determined that although the full terms and conditions could be clicked through to from the advert, they should have been more prominently displayed and no less than one mouse-click away from the advert itself. They therefore ruled that the advert was misleading (breaching CAP code rules 3.1, 3.3, 3.9, 3.23, and 8.18 regarding Misleading Advertising, Qualification, Free, and Significant Conditions for Promotions) and must not appear again in its current form.

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