Summary of Council decision:
Two issues were investigated, both of which were Upheld.
Two ads seen at a ‘Betting on Sports’ trade show held at the Kensington Olympia and a press ad for TVBet, a provider of live games to the betting industry:
a. The first ad, seen on 17 September 2019, appeared on a media screen and featured the claim “The Biggest Jackpots”.
b. The press ad, seen in the iGaming Times and Gambling Insider in September 2019, featured the claim “#1 World’s Live-Games Provider”.
BetGames.tv challenged whether:
1. The claims “The Biggest Jackpots” and “#1 World’s Live-Games provider” were misleading and could be substantiated; and
2. The same claims were verifiable.
ASTOK Ltd t/a TVBet said that the claims "The Biggest Jackpots" and "#1 World's Live-Games Provider" were not misleading because TVBet had been ranked as number one in a list of live games providers. They said that that information was available on www.logincasino.org. TVBet said that they would not use these claims in their future advertising.
The ASA considered that businesses would understand the claim “The Biggest Jackpots” to mean that TVBet’s gaming offered the highest jackpot pay out across all their games in comparison to other live games providers. As evidence for their claim, TVBet referred to a table on www.logincasino.com, a gambling news website that listed TVBet at the top for jackpots out of 5 providers and stated “no limits (€1 trillion or more)”. However, it was unclear on what that figure was based.
Furthermore, TVBet’s website stated that, on average, they ran two promotions and 660 jackpot draws per month with one partner and on average, TVBet’s jackpot amounted to €30,000 among its partners. In any case, the website only provided figures for a limited number of other gaming providers, with no explanation as to why they had been selected, on what the figures were based, or from where they had been sourced. We considered that the information provided was insufficient to substantiate the claim “The Biggest Jackpots” as it was likely to be understood by businesses in the context of the ad. We concluded that the claim was misleading and breached the Code.
We understood that there were many different considerations that businesses would take into account when deciding which live-games provider was best for them. The complainant had pointed to several different online rankings that took into account a varying range of factors and did not necessarily include TVBet. We considered that, in the absence of further qualification that explained what criteria was used to determine that TVBet was the ““#1 World’s Live-Games Provider”, businesses would understand the claim objectively to mean that TVBet’s live games offering was the best-selling on the market. We therefore expected to see evidence to show that TVBet was the best-selling live games provider across all its games offerings compared to the rest of the market.
TVBet stated that the claim was based on the overall ranking from the table on www.logincasino.com. We noted that the ranking was headed Business to business providers of live games for sports betting in 2019. However, the claim “#1 World’s Live-Games Provider” was likely to be understood as referring to all live games, so it was unclear whether the ranking was relevant to the claim. That notwithstanding, TVBet had not provided any evidence to substantiate that they were the best-selling live games provider across all their games offerings compared to the rest of the market.
We concluded that the claim was misleading and breached the Code. We welcomed TVBet's assurance that they would no longer use the claims in their future advertising. On that point, the ads breached CAP Code rules 3.1 3.1 Marketing communications must not materially mislead or be likely to do so. (Misleading advertising), 3.7 3.7 Before distributing or submitting a marketing communication for publication, marketers must hold documentary evidence to prove claims that consumers are likely to regard as objective and that are capable of objective substantiation. The ASA may regard claims as misleading in the absence of adequate substantiation. (Substantiation), and 3.33 3.33 Marketing communications that include a comparison with an identifiable competitor must not mislead, or be likely to mislead, the consumer about either the advertised product or the competing product. (Comparisons with identifiable competitors).
The CAP Code required that comparisons with identifiable competitors were verifiable. We considered that meant that an ad which featured a comparison with an identifiable competitor or competitors needed to include, or direct a business to, sufficient information to allow them to understand the comparison, and be able to check whether the claims were accurate, or ask someone suitably qualified to do so. We considered that the comparative claims “The Biggest Jackpots" and "#1 World's Live-Games Provider" would be understood as comparative claims with the whole market. The ads did not direct businesses to any additional information regarding the comparisons and explaining the basis for the claims.
We considered that the ads did not allow businesses or competitors to verify the comparisons and therefore concluded that the claims breached the Code. On that point, the ads breached CAP Code rule 3.35 3.35 They must objectively compare one or more material, relevant, verifiable and representative feature of those products, which may include price. (Comparisons with identifiable competitors).
The ads must not appear again in the form complained about. We told ASTOK Ltd t/a TVBet not to repeat the claims “The Biggest Jackpots” and “#1 World’s Live-Games Provider” in their advertising. We also told them that when making comparative claims in future, they should ensure that they were able to substantiate them with documentary evidence, and ensure that claims were verifiable.