A TV ad for Coral, seen in June 2019, featured a man and woman playing a game of chess. A female voice-over stated, “Don’t be silly. Bet savvy. Join Coral’s bet and get club and get a free £5 bet every Sunday. The smart money’s on Coral.” Large on-screen text that appeared at the same time stated, “BET + GET CLUB. FREE £5 BET EVERY SUNDAY. WHEN YOU BET £25+ MONDAY TO SATURDAY”. Smaller on-screen text at the bottom of the ad included the qualification, “Free Bet valid for 7 days”.
The complainant, who believed the offer “FREE £5 BET EVERY SUNDAY WHEN YOU BET £25+ MONDAY TO SATURDAY” encouraged consumers to gamble each week, challenged whether the ad was irresponsible and potentially harmful.
Coral Interactive (Gibraltar) Ltd t/a Coral stated that the ‘Bet and Get Club’ offer was an opt-in promotion which required customers to choose to enter the promotion. They said that a customer was able to opt-out of the promotion at any time and customers did not have to place bets during the qualifying week if they so chose. Therefore, they did not believe the ad encouraged repetitive or frequent betting. Coral said that the £5 free bet was not redeemable until the Sunday which ensured that there was always a break between when the qualifying bet was achieved and when the free bet became available. Coral highlighted that it was a weekly promotion and not daily. They said that customers did not have to bet large amounts in order to qualify and there were not multiple wager requirements or restrictions. They added that all customers were monitored for responsible gambling purposes and if any signs of harm were noted, the appropriate processes were followed.
Clearcast said that they did not believe that the content encouraged gambling behaviour that was socially irresponsible, nor could it lead to financial, social or emotional harm. They stated that it was confirmed that it was an opt-in offer which alleviated any sense of urgency. They felt the ad did not unduly pressure the audience to gamble. They also felt that because the bet was not available until the Sunday of the week, it allowed time in between betting to avoid excessive gambling. They added that they did not see the amounts as large compared to other gambling deposit requirements.
The BCAP Code stated that marketing communications for gambling must not portray, condone or encourage gambling behaviour that was socially irresponsible or could lead to financial, social or emotional harm. CAP and BCAP’s Advertising Guidance on ‘Gambling Advertising: responsibility and problem gambling’ also stated that marketers should take care to avoid trivialising gambling and avoid the impression that the decision to gamble should be taken lightly, for example by not encouraging repetitive participation.
The ASA understood the ad promoted a ‘BET + GET CLUB’ offer which gave customers a free £5 bet every Sunday when they had bet £25 in total from Monday to Saturday. The offer allowed consumers to receive a £5 bet each week if they spent £25. We acknowledged that the Bet and Get Club promotion did not require consumers to bet every day, or every week. However, we considered that the suggestion that viewers should “join” a “club” in order to receive a free £5 bet “every” Sunday was likely to encourage some consumers to take up the offer repetitively. For that reason, we concluded that the ad was likely to encourage gambling behaviour that was harmful and therefore breached the Code. The ad breached BCAP Code rule 17.3.1.
The ad must not appear in its current form. We told Coral Interactive (Gibraltar) Ltd t/a Coral not to present their promotions in ways that were likely to encourage repetitive participation in gambling.