altLast week, the parent company of Sky Bet (and Sky Bingo) was adjudicated by the Advertising Standards Authority regarding a consumer complaint surrounding issues in two recent advertisements. Bonne Terre Ltd fell short of the Authority’s standards on both a TV and a website advert, which the complainant claimed were both misleading.

The first ad was shown on TV and showed one box stating “£10 free bet” along with twenty-nine additional boxes stating “£5 free bet.” The voice-over told viewers they could “enjoy a brand new sign-up offer at Sky Bet,” by claiming “£10 completely free plus £5 free every week until the end of the season.” Other text shown on-screen said the offer was only for new customers and existing members of the company’s betting, poker, Vegas and bingo sites were excluded.  Further text told potential customers to “stake £5 weekly to qualify for the £5 weekly bet,” while the voice-over continued by saying, “claim your £10 completely free and £5 every week,” and directed people to download the application from the app store or visit the website to claim.

The complainant felt that the advert failed to make it clear that he/she would need to pay £5 every, single week to qualify for the offer. Whilst the ASA agreed that Bonne Terre Ltd had clearly stated the need to deposit weekly, they decided that the text stating this should have appeared at the same time as the voiceover, not after it.

The second complaint surrounded a banner ad that appeared on the betting sister site of Sky Bingo - Sky Bet. Visitors to the website were told that if they joined-up, they could “claim £10 completely free today and £5 free every week.” Again, the customer felt that it the ad failed to make it clear that a £5 wager was required each week in order to qualify. Again, the ASA upheld the complaint as they ruled that the wording of the condition was not presented in the banner ad, and therefore was potentially misleading to new customers.

Bonne Terre Ltd were advised to take further action by ensuring any qualifications for future “free bet” offers are clearly stated in their adverts, and to ensure that neither the TV ad or the website banner referred to above are shown again in their current form.

Have you ever felt swindled by a “free bet” or “free bingo” offer that turned out to not be totally free after all?