Two Instagram posts appearing on Profit Accumulator’s Instagram account:
a. The post, seen on 22 March 2019, included an image with the superimposed text “COLOSSAL WIN 2,380.50” alongside the text “Absolutely amazing win from one of our members 12 minutes ago” and the hashtags “#makemoney #makingmoney #income #makemoneyfromhome #extraincome #students #sahm #extramoney”.
b. The post, seen on 11 April 2019, included a review that stated, “In 1 month I have gone from a person struggling to stay afloat who is worrying about their MOT, bills etc to completely flipping my financial position. Could not have got to this position without match betting and without the guidance of Profit Accumulator”. Text next to the post included “#workingfromhome #workingfromhomejobs #workingfromhome #earnmoney #earnmoneyonline”.
The complainant, who believed the ads suggested that matched betting could be a way to achieve financial security, challenged whether the ads were irresponsible.
Profit Accumulator Ltd said they were committed to complying with the CAP Code. They said that the purpose of their service was to assist members by taking advantage of free bets and promotions by bookmakers to bet on all outcomes of a potential bet, and therefore ensure profit, amongst other exploitable loopholes. Profit Accumulator provided a description of how matched betting worked and, although they acknowledged that through human error on the part of the consumer, there was some chance of losing money on a single bet, they said that those who followed the instructions given to them would be unlikely to lose any money.
With respect to ad (a), Profit Accumulator said that the text “COLOSSAL WIN 2,380.50” was a screenshot provided by a member of a genuine win from a slots offer using a “free spins” offer. They said that both ads (a) and (b) featured hashtags including “#makemoney”, “#makingmoney”, “#income” and “#workingfromhomejobs” because matched betting did provide a way to make extra money, but they did not consider that the hashtags suggested that the product was an alternative to full-time employment.
The ASA understood that matched betting involved betting on all possible outcomes of a bet – for example, betting on a horse both to win and not to win a race – so that no loss was incurred. Where one of those bets was a promotional ‘free bet’ offered by a bookmaker, a profit could be made because the consumer did not have to pay for the stake. We noted that Profit Accumulator considered that their service was to provide consumers with information on promotional offers, as well as directing them to particular bets and allowing them to figure out how much needed to be wagered. Although we acknowledged that some consumers who made use of the service provided by Profit Accumulator would be exposed to gambling services, Profit Accumulator’s service was not itself gambling. However, we considered that the purpose of the service was to facilitate gambling and we therefore assessed the ads with that in mind.
Ad (a) included an image of a large win and text on the side included “#makemoney #makingmoney #income #makemoneyfromhome #extraincome #students #sahm #extramoney”. “#sahm” was a reference to ‘stay at home mums’, and along with the reference to “#students” the ad referenced individuals who were more likely to be on a lower income. We considered that the hashtags combined with the image of a large sum of money implied that Profit Accumulator’s service could be an alternative to employment or a way to achieve financial security. Although matched betting was not itself gambling, because its purpose was to facilitate gambling, we considered that this was irresponsible.
In relation to ad (b), the hashtags included “#workingfromhome” and “#workingfromhomejobs”. Those hashtags meant that consumers searching under similar terms for employment or work that they could do from home would potentially be shown the ad for Profit Accumulator for their matched betting service. Text in the ad stated “In 1 month I have gone from a person struggling to stay afloat who is worrying about their MOT, bills etc to completely flipping my financial position” and we considered that this suggested to consumers that using Profit Accumulator’s service could change a consumer’s financial position and be a solution to financial concerns. Although we acknowledged that Profit Accumulator’s service was not itself gambling, we considered that using it would place consumers into a position where they would be interacting with gambling services, which we considered was irresponsible for consumers who may decide to use it to pay debts or as an alternative to employment.
We concluded that ads (a) and (b) were irresponsible. Ads (a) and (b) breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 1.3 1.3 Marketing communications must be prepared with a sense of responsibility to consumers and to society. (Social responsibility).
The ads must not appear again in their current form. We told Profit Accumulator Ltd not to suggest or imply that matched betting could be a solution to financial concerns, an alternative to employment or a way to achieve financial security.