CAP and BCAP have recently published a new Gambling Help Note. It’s designed to provide advertisers with clear guidance to help ensure that gambling advertising continues to be responsible and that children as well as vulnerable people, like those at risk of problem gambling, are protected.
A key focus of the Help Note is on “free bet” offers. Over the last few years, the ASA has dealt with a number of misleading claims for this kind of incentive. In many cases, advertisers have either:
- not made clear the significant conditions attached to the “free bet” offer, to the extent that the omission of that information is likely to mislead the consumer as to the true nature of that offer; or
- made a “free” offer where the conditions on the offer contradicted the “free” claim, thereby creating a misleading impression
The Codes require that you include significant terms and conditions to a promotion and that they avoid qualifying the headline claim in a way that is contradictory and likely to mislead.
For example, the following are common significant terms and conditions:
- requiring consumers to deposit the same amount of their own money as the “free bet” in order to take advantage of the offer;
- requiring new customers to bet their initial deposit;
- requiring consumers to match free bet amounts on a certain number of occasions before they are able to withdraw any cash winnings from their account;
- imposing time limits in which bets must be made before winnings are forfeited; and
- preventing consumers from being able to withdraw any of their own funds deposited into their account until they have placed bets totalling a certain number of times the value of the “free bet”.
If you’re advertising “free bets” you should ensure that any conditions to the offer that are likely to be significant to consumers are appropriately disclaimed, either in the ad or, where space is limited, such as online in a sponsored search ad, are made available just one click away.