Claims on www.skybet.com, seen 7 April 2014, for a betting promotion featured a banner which stated "£30 FREE ... Join now and get a free matched bet up to £30". Small text at the bottom on the banner stated "18+ T&Cs apply". Further text below the banner stated "1. Register today for a £30 free bet. 2. Get £5 free each week with the Free Bet Club. + Get £5 completely free to play at Sky Vegas" and "Join now".
Smaller text below the banner and some further images stated "Join Sky Bet and get a free matched bet up to £30, plus earn an extra £5 free every week when you join our Free Bet Club". Under the sub-heading "How to claim", text stated "Join Sky Bet now and open an account. Place your first sports bet, either an each way or a single bet, of any amount. A free matched bet will be credited to your account immediately after your first bet, to the same value of your first bet, up to the value of £30. Free bets are non-withdrawable and your stake is not included in any returns".
Further headings stated "Terms and Conditions" and "Free matched bet up to £30". Text below stated "Simply place your 1st single or each way bet on any sport market at odds of evens or above, and we will match the stake, pound for pound, up to £30." The terms and conditions then listed conditions under the headings "Free Bet Club" and Getting back into the Free Bet Club" and "General Terms and Conditions", under which text reiterated "Free bets are non-withdrawable and free bet stakes are not included in any returns".
The complainant, who considered that the ad did not make clear that the amount of the "free matched bet" would be deducted from any winnings, challenged whether the ad was misleading .
Bonne Terre Ltd, trading as SkyBet stated that the terms and conditions were laid out in full under the banner promotion and there was therefore no need to link through or expand the terms and conditions. They considered that placement brought clarity and notice to the relevant conditions of the offer.
They stated that the condition "Free bets are non-withdrawable and free bet stakes are not included in any returns" applied to both the £30 free bet and the free bets earned as a part of the Free Bet Club and felt that including the condition in the "How to Claim" section was clearer than simply including it in the section of the terms and conditions specific to the £30 free bet offer.
They added that the banner stated "Ts&Cs Apply" and considered the phrase was included in the offer in a legible and readable way, clear of obstruction and in a sufficiently large font. They did not consider there was a need to include an asterisk, given that the terms were set out in their entirety immediately below the promotional imagery.
The headline banner stated "T&Cs apply" and the terms and conditions were set out below the banner. The ASA therefore considered that the terms and conditions of the offer would be clear to consumers.
The first section of the terms and conditions was headed "How to claim" and included the condition "Free bets are non-withdrawable and your stake is not included in any returns". That condition was reiterated in the "General terms and conditions". We considered that it was appropriate to include the condition "Free bets are non-withdrawable and your stake is not included in any returns" in the terms and conditions, provided it was clear to consumers; we considered the placement of that condition in the ad was appropriate and sufficiently prominent.
We therefore concluded that the ad made clear that the amount of the free matched bet would be deducted from any winnings and was not misleading.
We investigated the ad under CAP Code (Edition 12) rules
Marketing communications must not materially mislead or be likely to do so.
Marketing communications must not mislead the consumer by omitting material information. They must not mislead by hiding material information or presenting it in an unclear, unintelligible, ambiguous or untimely manner.
Material information is information that the consumer needs to make informed decisions in relation to a product. Whether the omission or presentation of material information is likely to mislead the consumer depends on the context, the medium and, if the medium of the marketing communication is constrained by time or space, the measures that the marketer takes to make that information available to the consumer by other means. (Misleading advertising), 3.9 3.9 Marketing communications must state significant limitations and qualifications. Qualifications may clarify but must not contradict the claims that they qualify. and 3.10 3.10 Qualifications must be presented clearly.
CAP has published a Help Note on Claims that Require Qualification. (Qualification), but did not find it in breach.
No further action necessary.