A direct mailing for 888.com, an online casino, stated on the front: "Inside: NO DEPOSIT BONUS & Amazing offers ..." Text inside stated "NO Deposit Bonus - 888.com has opened you a Casino-on-Net account with free £10 in it! No registration - No deposit - No strings attached ... Go to your [provider] email account - Open your Casino-on-Net password email - Download & start playing - Enjoy your free £10".
The recipient, who gambled the free £10 and won £10.70 but was then told he could not withdraw his winnings because a minimum withdrawal amount applied, challenged whether the ad was misleading for not stating that condition.
888.com (888) said that Casino-on-Net's withdrawal policy did not allow for withdrawals of less than £30, and that amount needed to have been wagered before it could be withdrawn. They said the promotional material sent to customers stated that promotions were subject to Casino-on-Net's End User License Agreement and Bonus Policy, and that, when players opened an account with Casino-on-Net, they expressly consented to the agreement. They said the fourth paragraph of the agreement included a link to allow the player to review the withdrawal policy before signing up. They said it explicitly stated the minimum amount required for a withdrawal using the different options available to players. They said the funds won by the player as a result of the promotion were available to him for further use, subject to the withdrawal requirements that the player would have consented to when he originally took up the offer. They said the player would have been able to add future bonus amounts to his account but, because Casino-on-Net's policy was that an amount needed to have been wagered before it could be withdrawn, a player might be prevented from withdrawing from their account even if the balance exceeded £30. If winnings exceeded £30, however, they could be withdrawn.
The ASA noted that players needed to agree to Casino-on-Net's End User License Agreement and Bonus Policy, which included their withdrawal policy, when they opened their account and that they could place a bet with the initial £10 without needing to add any of their own money to it. However, we also noted that players would not be able to make any withdrawals until their winnings amounted to £30 and that that condition was stated in the End User License Agreement and Bonus Policy but not in the ad. We noted that the ad stated "... No deposit - No strings attached ..." and considered it was likely that players whose winnings from the initial £10 amounted to less than £30 might want to withdraw them without accumulating more by placing additional bets. 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 ad breached 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) and 3.9 3.9 Marketing communications must state significant limitations and qualifications. Qualifications may clarify but must not contradict the claims that they qualify. (Qualification).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told 888.com to ensure significant conditions were stated in their ads in future.