ASA Adjudication on Gala Coral Group Ltd
Gala Coral Group Ltd t/a
11 July 2012
Number of complaints:
An e-mail from Gala Bingo stated "We're offering you a £10 bonus on your favourite Slot of all time! Simply deposit £10 using the code ALICEW and play Alice's Wonderland^ to release your 100% bonus of up to £10 meaning more chances to win that mighty jackpot of over £100,000!*" A click-through link labelled "PLAY NOW" was provided. Footnote text stated "^ALICEW 100% Deposit Match Terms and Conditions apply".
The complainant, who understood it was necessary to stake £50 to release the £10 bonus, challenged whether the e-mail was misleading, because it claimed to offer a 100% bonus on a £10 deposit.
CAP Code (Edition 12)
Gala Coral Group Ltd, t/a Gala Bingo, (Gala Bingo) explained that the promotion offered to credit customers' accounts with a bonus of up to £10, depending on the size of their initial deposit, which would be released upon completion of a "5x wagering requirement". The customer would therefore have to play through their deposit amount five times on the Alice's Wonderland game in order to obtain their bonus.
Gala Bingo stated that the promotional e-mail had been sent to a distribution list of currently registered players, most of whom would have received a similar sign-up bonus with wagering requirements when they first registered and would therefore be familiar with this kind of condition. They also believed that customers would understand that they had to play through their deposit a certain number of times from the wording of the ad, which said customers needed to "play" the game in order to "release [their] 100% bonus of up to £10".
Gala Bingo further stated that the e-mail contained numerous links, including the "PLAY NOW" button, which took players directly to a "splash page" detailing full terms and conditions for the promotion. They acknowledged that customers who received the e-mail would be able to participate in the promotion without clicking through to the terms and conditions page, but believed it was unlikely anyone would do so given the prominence of the links. They said a total of 809 players had taken up the offer and they had not received any other complaints that the ad was misleading. They stressed that they did not intend to mislead their customers, but felt that their approach of having full terms and conditions "one click away" from the initial ad was in line with standard industry practice and provided sufficient clarity to comply with the advertising codes.
The ASA understood that the release of the bonus was contingent upon customers playing through their deposit amount five times. We noted that the system of imposing wagering requirements was common in the online betting industry, including within Gala Bingo, and that the recipients of this e-mail may therefore have had some degree of familiarity with this type of condition. We acknowledged that the ad contained numerous links to the promotion's "splash page", which detailed full terms and conditions and clearly stated that customers needed to play through their deposit amount five times in order to have the bonus credited to their account as cash. However, we understood that players who received the e-mail 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 noted that the CAP Code required promoters to communicate all significant conditions to consumers before purchase. 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.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) 3.1 and 3.3 (Misleading advertising) and 8.17.1 (Significant conditions for promotions).
The ad must not appear again in its current form.