A website for the online gambling site Slots Heaven, www.slotsheaven.com, seen on 4 September 2015. The page titled 'Welcome Bonus' included text that stated "Your divine Welcome Bonus is ready and waiting for you! We’ll triple your money, so you can have triple the fun in the casino! Get a massive 200% up to $/£/€400 on your first deposit to play on our heavenly array of games. All games count towards the wagering requirements, so whether you prefer slots or classic casino games such as blackjack and roulette, there is something for everyone". Clicking on the section "Welcome Bonus Terms & Conditions" below the text revealed the terms and conditions of the offer and a link to the page for “General Promotion Terms and Conditions”.
The complainant, who had wagered £10 on slots and was informed that there was a maximum £5 bet limit on any slots and poker games, challenged whether the ad was misleading.
Mansion Europe Holdings Ltd t/a Slotsheaven.com understood that the complaint was centred on two terms relating to maximum bet limits in their General Promotional Terms and Conditions: “If you bet more than £/€/$5 per spin and £/€/$0.5 per bet line on any game round on any slots or video poker games, while wagering funds that are associated with a deposit bonus, the bonus and winnings may be voided”; and “Players depositing from the UK, Romania and Croatia using the following payment methods cannot bet more than £/€/$10 in a single bet, spin or game round while completing wagering requirements, otherwise the bonus and winnings may be voided: E-wallets (e.g. Neteller, Skrill, Paypal), Prepaid Cards (e.g. PaysafeCard), Prepaid Vouchers (e.g. Ukash)”.
Slotsheaven.com stated that both of those terms were related to bonus abuse, and were applied on a discretionary basis against a small subset of players with a proven history of bonus abuse activities. They said most players would not have their bonus and winnings voided, even if, for example, they made a bet above £5 on slots or if a UK based player using Neteller above £10 on a table game. They explained that the second clause was related to games other than slots or video poker and was introduced as a response to a trend of abuse of the Welcome Bonus offer from certain risk areas. They stated that in between the time that the complainant saw the ad and the complaint was brought to their attention, they had amended the second term for further clarity.
Slotsheaven.com did not believe that those terms were so significant to the offer that they should be presented in the ad itself and they asserted that no other gambling operators presented those types of terms in that manner.
The ASA considered that the Welcome Bonus offer was targeted at new customers who were unlikely to be familiar with the maximum bet limits for different types of games imposed by Slotsheaven.com.
We noted that the terms and conditions of the Welcome Bonus offer were found on the Welcome Bonus page, but were only revealed if users clicked on the tab titled “Welcome Bonus Terms & Conditions” underneath the body copy that detailed the offer. The offer’s terms and conditions set out the wagering requirements which players must satisfy, after making a deposit and accepting the bonus, in order to withdraw any winnings from using the bonus. The terms also contained an example illustrating the percentage of contribution for each game type towards the required wagered amounts in order to withdraw winnings. The example was based on every £10 wagered on slots and the amount that would contribute towards the total wagering requirements. While the last term of the offer’s terms and conditions listed in the ad stated “Our General Promotion Terms and Conditions [link] also apply to this promotion”, which directed users to another page that displayed those terms, we considered that consumers were likely to expect that the Welcome Bonus page contained all the significant terms that applied to the promotion and that they could bet £10 on slots within the terms of the promotion.
We noted that the General Promotion terms included two terms that stated that a player could be excluded from bonus offers and their winnings voided if they bet particular amounts in certain currencies. We noted that Slotsheaven.com claimed those were ‘abuse’ terms and only applied to particular players on a discretionary basis. However, we considered that consumers would not expect that they could be excluded from a promotion under the General Promotion terms and conditions because of behaviour (wagering £10 on slots) which was expressly permitted by the Welcome Bonus offer terms and we therefore 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.
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 told Slotsheaven.com to ensure that future ads for similar offers did not misleadingly imply that certain betting behaviours were permissible under the offer terms, when in fact players could be excluded under the General Promotion terms for those behaviours.