Summary of Council decision:
Two issues were investigated, both of which were Upheld.
An email promotion for Ladbrokes Casino, dated 21 April 2016, stated "CHECK WHAT'S ON THE TABLE ... We've found our very own winning combination and we're sharing it especially with our Table Club players. Check this out: Deposit £35 and Get £5 ... Deposit £60 and Get £10 ... Deposit £100 and Get £20 ...". A button that stated 'DEPOSIT NOW' was featured below the text. A set of terms and conditions were included further down the ad, which included “In order to redeem the Deposit Bonus amount and winnings, you are required to wager the (bonus + deposit) amount Five times (X5) in Casino/Slots/Live Casino (Game stake contributions apply as in term 11 in the General Terms and Conditions [link])” and “For full Terms and Condition Click Here [link].)”.
1. The ASA, which understood that, in order for a consumer to redeem the Deposit Bonus and associated winnings, they might be required to wager more than five times the bonus and deposit amount for certain game types, challenged whether the ad was misleading.
2. The complainant, who took up the offer but was later informed that they had exceeded a 30% bonus bet limit and so their bonus winnings were therefore void, challenged whether the ad was misleading because it did not make clear that the 30% bonus bet limit was applicable.
1. Ladbrokes Betting & Gaming Ltd noted that the issue concerning the manner in which the wagering requirement of the Deposit Bonus offer was presented in the ad had not been raised by the complainant. Nevertheless, they believed that the average recipient, specifically existing customers, would be unlikely to be misled by the Bonus wagering requirement in the ad. They believed the wagering requirement was clearly signposted in the terms and conditions in the ad, along with a reference and a link directly to the relevant part of the Promotional General Terms and Conditions.
2. Ladbrokes stated that their promotions team had reviewed the terms and conditions of the promotion and were in agreement that the 30% maximum free bet stake rule should have been given equal prominence to the wagering requirements on any advertising offers. They said they would amend future email promotions to further clarify the applicable wagering requirements and maximum bet limits.
1. & 2. Upheld
The ASA welcomed Ladbrokes’ willingness to amend their future advertising. We noted that the terms and conditions at the bottom of the ad included a term relating to the wagering requirement (“X5”) that consumers had to satisfy in order to redeem the Deposit Bonus amount and winnings. The term also referred to and included a link that directed consumers to a specific term in Ladbrokes’ Promotional General Terms and Conditions, which set out a list of games showing how much they contributed, in percentages, towards the bonus wagering requirements. Although the terms and conditions in the ad also stated “For full Terms and Conditions Click Here”, which again linked to the Promotional General Terms and Conditions, the ad did not indicate any other terms or restrictions that related to the wagering requirements that would be applicable. We therefore considered that consumers were likely to understand from the ad that they would be able to redeem the Deposit Bonus amount and winnings as long as they wagered five times the bonus and deposit amount in the types of games stated.
We noted from the Promotional General Terms and Conditions that money wagered in different games would contribute different amounts towards the overall wagering requirements that applied to the Deposit Bonus offer. Slots (excluding ‘Alternative slots’ and ‘All double options on Slots’), scratch cards and ‘All other games’ that were not listed were the only game types that contributed 100% towards the wagering requirements. Consumers were required to wager more than five times the bonus and deposit amount on the remaining games listed. For example, if a player deposited £100 for a £20 bonus amount and chose to complete the wagering requirement through playing slots, they would need to wager £120 x 5, staking a total of £600. However, if they chose to complete the wagering requirement through playing blackjack, which had a 20% contribution, the player would need to wager £120 x 25, staking a total of £3,000 before they could withdraw the bonus amount and associated winnings. We considered that the link in the ad to the Promotional General Terms and Conditions page which set out the various contribution percentages was insufficient to counteract the impression that consumers would only need to wager five times the bonus and deposit amount for all Casino, Slots and Live Casino games. We considered that the Bonus wagering requirement as it applied to each of the different games was a significant condition that was likely to influence consumers’ decisions or understanding about the Bonus offer, and therefore should have been made clear in the ad.
We also understood that the complainant’s winnings from the bonus offer were voided under a specific term in the Promotional General Terms and Conditions, which stated “23. To further protect Ladbrokes from the prospect of Promotion Abuse, customers must not: … a. bet more than 30% of the bonus amount in a single bet or game round on any Ladbrokes Casino games for the duration of the bonus; … and Ladbrokes reserves the right to void any bonus and all associated winnings where a customer fails to observe these limits”. We considered that the restriction on the maximum amount consumers could bet in a single bet or game round was likely to affect the manner in which they could fulfil the wagering requirements of the Bonus offer, or otherwise their winnings would be voided. We therefore considered that the maximum bet limit was a significant condition of the offer that was likely to influence consumers’ decisions or understanding about the promotion, and should have been made clear in the ad.
Because the ad did not make sufficiently clear the Bonus wagering requirement as it applied to each of the different games, and that it also did not make clear a maximum bet limit applied to the amount wagered in a single bet or game round whilst completing the wagering requirement, we concluded that the ad was misleading.
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 (Significant conditions for promotions).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We reminded Ladbrokes Betting & Gaming Ltd to ensure that their future promotions included relevant applicable significant conditions where their omission was likely to mislead, including the wagering requirement as it applied to each of the relevant games, and maximum bet limits that consumers must adhere to when fulfilling the wagering requirements of the offer.