The website www.sapphirerooms.com, for online casino games, was seen on 13 January 2017. The headline stated “UP TO £500 IN WELCOME BONUSES”. Small print under the headline stated “New customers only. Min dep £10 on all 3 welcome offers. Max bonus £500. Slots only. 30x wagering and T&Cs apply”.
The complainant, who understood that there was a cap on bonus related winnings, challenged whether that was made sufficiently clear in the ad.
Nektan (Gibraltar) Ltd t/Sapphire Rooms believed that new and experienced players were fully aware that bonus offers had restrictive terms and conditions.
Sapphire Rooms explained that if a player decided to take advantage of the advertised offer, their first three deposits were matched with bonus funds up to a maximum of £500 (i.e. first deposit – 200% match bonus up to £50; second deposit – 100% match bonus up to £200; and third deposit – 50% match bonus up to £250). The bonus was automatically credited to their account upon making a deposit and only when cash funds were exhausted were players then able to start gambling with bonus funds. When the player betted with the bonus funds the wagering requirement applied and winnings from the bonus funds were only available once the 30x wagering requirement was met. Upon reaching the wagering requirement the available bonus balance automatically converted to cash funds up to the maximum cap that applied (i.e. 4x the bonus amount awarded).
Saphire Rooms stated that they would fully cooperate with the ASA and make the necessary changes to their future promotions if needed. However, they believed that given the amount of space available, the ad included all the appropriate salient conditions and made sufficiently clear to players that other terms and conditions applied, which were one-click away from the ad, and included the condition that bonus funds were capped at 4x the bonus. They referred to the full terms and conditions for the advertised promotion, which stated “Bonus funds carry a wagering requirement of 30x the sum of your deposit and bonus amount (e.g. £10 deposit + £10 bonus 30= £600) must be met before the bonus and any winnings are converted to capped cash and this and any further winnings become withdrawable if the bonus is related to a deposit” and “The maximum conversion amount from bonus funds will be capped at 4X the bonus amount awarded. Bonus funds convert automatically once wagering is complete”.
Sapphire Rooms stated that upon registering players had to acknowledge that they had read, understood and accepted the “General Terms and Conditions” that governed the use of bonus play, which included the condition “Bonuses all carry a wagering requirement specific to its terms and conditions. Bonus conversion may also be capped, players should ensure they are fully aware of these specifics before taking advantage of these offers. Bonus funds will convert automatically, once wagering is completed …”.
The ASA welcomed Sapphire Rooms willingness to amend their advertising accordingly if needed.
The ASA understood that before players could withdraw any winnings associated with their bonus funds, they had to meet the 30x wagering requirement, which we considered was made sufficiently clear in the ad. Once that was met they could then withdraw their cash funds, but would be capped at 4x the bonus amount that was given to them. We considered that this was a significant condition to the offer that should have been included in the ad, and given it appeared on the advertiser’s website, it was reasonable to expect that this could be done. However, we noted that the condition had been omitted from the ad and therefore, we concluded that the ad breached the CAP Code.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules
Marketing communications must not materially mislead or be likely to do so.
Marketing communications must state significant limitations and qualifications. Qualifications may clarify but must not contradict the claims that they qualify.
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 Sapphire Rooms to ensure that their future promotions included relevant applicable significant conditions where their omission was likely to mislead, including caps that applied on cash winnings obtained from bonuses.