Ad description

A paid-for Facebook ad for 8 Ball Pool, an online game, seen on 26 September 2023, featured various scenes of gameplay and ended with prominent on-screen text which stated, “PLAY FREE NOW”. The ad included a link to the game on the Apple App Store.


The complainant, an academic researcher in game regulation, who understood that the game contained in-game purchases, including random-item purchasing (loot boxes), challenged whether the ad was misleading because it omitted material information.


Miniclip (UK) Ltd believed that material information had not been omitted from the ad because the game did not require users to make a purchase in order to play and progress. However, they confirmed that the ad had been withdrawn after being notified of the complaint and said that future ads would not omit such material information.



The ASA understood that the items received in a ‘loot box’ were based on chance, and that a player would not know what items they had received in the box until the transaction was completed. CAP Guidance stated that the presence of in-game purchasing, and particularly random-item purchasing (loot boxes), was material to a consumer’s decision to purchase or download a game, especially for consumers with specific vulnerabilities. As such, marketers should ensure that advertising for the game made clear that it contained in-game purchasing and, if relevant, that it included random-item purchasing.

We understood that 8 Ball Pool contained virtual currency and functional items, like cues, that were available to purchase, as well as loot boxes, such as ‘golden spins’.

We noted that the ad for 8 Ball Pool did not contain any information to indicate to consumers that the game contained in-game purchases, including loot boxes. We therefore considered consumers would not understand from the ad that the game contained in game-purchases or loot boxes.

We acknowledged that Miniclip withdrew the ad on receipt of the complaint and provided an assurance that future ads would comply with the requirements of the CAP Code. Nonetheless, because the ad did not make clear that the game contained in-game purchases or loot boxes, which we considered was material to consumers’ decisions to download the game, we concluded that the ad misleadingly omitted material information.

The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 and 3.3 (Misleading advertising).


The ad must not appear in the form complained of. We told Miniclip (UK) Ltd to ensure that ads for 8 Ball Pool disclosed the presence of in-game purchases, including random-item purchases (loot boxes).

CAP Code (Edition 12)

3.1     3.3    

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