A text message from Lucky Pants Bingo received on 26 February 2016 stated "Get Lucky with 100 FREE spins + 350% bonus on your deposit at Lucky Pants Bingo. Click here to login [short web address] and use promo code LUCKY today!".
The complainant, who entered the code but did not receive any free spins and only received a bonus of 200%, challenged whether the ad was misleading because it failed to include all applicable significant conditions of the offer.
Daub Alderney Ltd t/a Lucky Pants Bingo explained that the complainant registered an account with them on 30 November 2015. Before the complainant made their first deposit on 15 January 2016, Lucky Pants Bingo sent them a promotional text which featured the offer of 100 free spins and a 350% bonus. Lucky Pants Bingo explained that that offer was available only to account holders who had yet to place a deposit amount. To ensure that was the case, Lucky Pants Bingo explained there was an automatic filter on accounts against which no deposit had been made and that filter used the mobile phone number listed on the account to send out the promotional text.
Having placed their deposit on 15 January 2016, the complainant contacted Lucky Pants Bingo because they had not received the featured bonus. When they investigated, it appeared the complainant had not deposited the required amount (which was £10), and the complainant was advised that they had not entered the required code in the correct way. Lucky Pants Bingo then credited the complainant’s account with the 100 free spins and the 350% deposit bonus.
Lucky Pants Bingo explained that since the complainant made their deposit (Account 1) on 15 January 2016, they should not have received the text sent on 26 February 2016. However, according to Lucky Pants Bingo’s records, the number listed against the Account 1 was also listed against another player’s account (Account 2). They explained that the ad was sent to Account 2 on the understanding that the account holder had yet to make a deposit. Therefore, Lucky Pants Bingo was under the impression that the ad had been sent to another account holder and not the complainant.
On 26 February 2016, the complainant contacted Lucky Pants Bingo and was advised that the offer in the ad was available only to those account holders who had never made a deposit. They said that because the complainant, however, was not willing to provide them with sufficient information, they were only able to look into the reasons why the complainant received the ad once they had been notified of the complaint by the ASA. They explained further that the offer was only available to those account holders making their first deposit and said that if an account holder made their first deposit without using the promo code, they would not be able to make a second deposit and still take advantage of the offer.
Lucky Pants Bingo confirmed that since the ad had been sent, it had been amended to state “Get 100 spins + 350% bonus on your first deposit of min. £10 at Lucky Pants Bingo. Login@ [short web url] & use promo code LUCKY. T&C apply. STOP1 to 6077”.
Lucky Pants Bingo noted that the number of characters which can be included in a text message were limited. That notwithstanding, they explained that an email was sent to players informing them of the full terms and conditions attached to any particular promotion featured in the promotional text message.
The ASA understood the complainant was concerned that the ad failed to make clear that the offer was available only to those account holders making their first deposit and that a minimum of £10 must be deposited. We considered consumers receiving the message were likely to understand that in order to take up the offer they needed only to make a deposit when using the promo code and that they were not required to deposit a minimum amount.
However, we understood from Lucky Pants Bingo that a minimum deposit of £10 had to be made so as to benefit from the advertised offer and that the offer was available only to account holders making their first deposit. We acknowledged the method used by Lucky Pants Bingo to identify and target eligible account holders and considered that an error had occurred which led to the complainant receiving the text, when they should not have done.
Nevertheless, we considered the need to make a minimum deposit and that the offer was valid only when account holders placed their first deposit, were significant conditions that were likely to affect recipients’ understanding of the offer. Therefore, we considered those conditions should have been included in the ad itself, not just in the accompanying Terms and Conditions. Although we understood that in some circumstances, space could be limited when advertising via text message, we considered there was still sufficient space within the ad to include them, as demonstrated by the changes Lucky Pants Bingo had since made. In the circumstances, we concluded the omission of those significant conditions from the ad was likely to mislead consumers.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules
All marketing communications or other material referring to promotions must communicate all applicable significant conditions or information where the omission of such conditions or information is likely to mislead. Significant conditions or information may, depending on the circumstances, include:
How to participate
How to participate, including significant conditions and costs, and other major factors reasonably likely to influence consumers' decision or understanding about the promotion and 8.18 8.18 Marketing communications that include a promotion and are significantly limited by time or space must include as much information about significant conditions as practicable and must direct consumers clearly to an easily accessible alternative source where all the significant conditions of the promotion are prominently stated. Participants should be able to retain those conditions or easily access them throughout the promotion. (Significant conditions for sales promotions).
We welcomed that Daub Alderney Ltd’s had since amended the ad. We told them to ensure all applicable significant conditions were included in their sales promotions.