A recent press ad launched by the betting arm of the William Hill company, who also offer bingo games via their William Hill Bingo site, has caused a ruckus with another betting company in the form of Coral Racing Ltd. The Gala Coral group who also run the online Gala Bingo website as well as betting shops and casinos, submitted a complaint to the Advertising Standards Agency after seeing the press advertisement.
The advert carried the headline ‘TOP PRICE THE FAVOURITES EVERY PREMIER LEAGUE & SPL MATCH’ and continued to explain that William Hill guaranteed to offer the best prices on all favourites in the opening round of EPL and SPL matches. An asterisk which linked to small print at the bottom further explained that William Hill promised to match or improve on the 90 minute win price of the favourite with certain other bookmakers namely Ladbrokes, Coral and Paddy Power as advertised in Oddschecker. The complaint came as Coral challenged the claim ‘TOP PRICE THE FAVOURITES EVERY PREMIER LEAGUE & SPL MATCH, We guarantee to offer the best prices on all favourites’ as they believed it was misleading, and they asserted that some of their prices available both online and in their shops were better.
In response to the complaint, William Hill claimed that the advert specifically stated the offer was only relevant to telephone, online and mobile placed bets and did not state at any point that it related to the prices in retail betting shops. They stated that by mentioning the online odds comparison site Oddschecker this was made clearer.
The mention of Oddschecker was the crux of their argument as because it’s a publically available comparison site and typically used by customers familiar with betting, it made it very clear what their statements related to. William Hill also maintained that their prices available through their telephone, online and mobile services were the best prices or best matched prices available via those markets. They also provided a breakdown of their odds price history for EPL and SPL matches for the weekend in question.
After looking into the statement and complaints in depth, the ASA found William Hill did not breach any code guidelines or rules and therefore no action was required. It’s clear when the market is so tight with competition, it is hard to prove you’re the most successful in your field and it can lead to disputes with competitors. Both William Hill and Gala Coral provide a huge range of online gaming and high street gaming facilities from their online bingo service to sports betting and it’s easy to see how situations like the above can arise.