888 and Gala Bingo have both had ad campaigns banned by UK advertising watchdog the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for being “misleading”.
In 888’s case, the ASA concluded that a direct mailing offering a “NO deposit bonus” of £10 was misleading as it had not made it clear that a minimum withdrawal amount of £30 applied. The complaint was lodged by a player that gambled the £10 and won £10.70 but was unable to withdraw their winnings.
While 888 said it was clearly stated in the mail out that promotions were subject to its end user licence agreement and bonus policy, that players had to consent to when they opened an online account, the ASA noted that: “We considered the minimum £30 withdrawal policy was a significant condition likely to influence players’ initial decision to take advantage of the offer in the first place and should have been stated in the ad. Because it was not, we concluded that the ad was misleading.” The ASA ruled the ad must not appear in its current form again and instructed 888.com to ensure “significant conditions” were included in the ads themselves in future.
Gala Bingo also had an ad campaign banned by the ASA for being misleading, after the regulator today upheld a complaint from a player that while this claimed to offer a 100% bonus on a £10 deposit to play the Alice’s Wonderland slot, it was actually necessary to stake £50 on the game to release the “100% bonus of up to £10.”
Gala argued the promo had been sent to a list of registered players, most of whom were now familiar with this kind of condition, and that it was clear from its wording that they had to “play” through their deposit in order a certain number of times – this case five – to “release” the bonus. Gala also pointed out that the email contained a number of prominent links, including the “PLAY NOW” button, which took players directly to a page with full T&Cs for the offer. The bingo operator argued it was unlikely that any of their players would take part without clicking these links. Gala said it had not received any other complaints from among the 809 players that took up the offer.
But while the ASA accepted Gala’s arguments, it understood that players who received the email would be able to participate in the promotion by depositing money directly into their Gala Bingo accounts, without ever being directed to the terms and conditions page. “We considered that the wagering requirement for this promotion amounted to a significant condition likely to influence customers’ understanding of the offer and as such should have been stated in the ad itself. Because it was not, we concluded that the ad was misleading.”