A website for the gambling operator Titanbet (www.titanbet.co.uk), seen on 8 April 2017. On the promotions page, text stated “Enjoy free bets and cash bonuses with Titanbet promotions!”. Below this were links to a number of different promotions including one headed “Get Faller Insurance at Titanbet. Place a bet on any UK jumps race and get a free bet up to £25 if your horse falls, unseats or is brought down. T&Cs Apply” alongside an image of a horse race. The linked offer page said “Faller Insurance! Free Bet if your Horse is a Faller. T&Cs apply”. A “Bet Now” link was included immediately below. Smaller text in the middle of the paragraph below stated "If your horse either falls, unseats or is brought down on from 00:00 on 06/04/2017 to 23:59 on 07/04/2017, you'll receive the win part of your stake back as a free bet up to £25". Further down the page the ad stated “Terms and Conditions … refunded if your horse falls, unseats or is brought down in any UK jumps race between 06/04/2017 & 07/04/2017”.
The complainant, who noted that the ad and 'Bet Now' link still appeared after the free bet offer had ended on 8 April, the date of the Grand National, and therefore believed the ad misleadingly suggested that the promotion applied to the Grand National, challenged whether the promotion had been conducted in accordance with the CAP Code.
PT Entertainment Services t/a Titanbet said that the terms and conditions that applied to the promotion were clearly set out a single click away with the “T’s & C’s Apply” button. They said that the Ts & Cs clearly stated in the third line that the promotion was only intended to apply on 6 April and 7 April. They believed that it was appropriate to position the Ts & Cs one click away because there were nine promotions on the page which each needed to be summarised in a small banner ad, and therefore the space on the promotion page was limited.
Titanbet said that they nevertheless did not intend for the ad to remain on their website after the closing date of the promotion. Instead, they took active steps to remove the ad from all other places on the website that the promotion was mentioned as soon at the promotion ended. They said that they had actively removed the promotion from banners on the home page and main pages of the website and landing pages, but had inadvertently omitted to remove reference to the promotion from the promotions page until 10 April. They said that the purpose of the promotions page was a content page from which terms and conditions could be accessed. They said that the page was not designed to be a place where they advertised promotions to customers, and that most customers access promotions through more prominently displayed banner ads elsewhere on the website.
Titanbet said that they had decided to honour the promotion for all customers who placed a bet on 8 April and 9 April so they were not ultimately adversely affected. The accounts for those customers whose horses fell, were unseated or brought down were credited with the relevant free bet. They also said they had taken effective steps to ensure that the oversight did not happen again.
The ASA understood that the Grand National was one of the biggest sports betting events of the year, and therefore considered that those consumers who saw the promotions page on 8 April, the date of the Grand National, were likely to understand from the claim “place a bet on any UK jumps race” that the promotion applied to the Grand National.
We considered that consumers who clicked on the link would also understand from the headline claim on the subsequent page “Free Bet if your Horse is a Faller” that the promotion applied to the Grand National. While we acknowledged that smaller text below the headline claim included the closing date of the promotion, we considered that the text was not sufficiently prominent such that it was likely to have been overlooked by consumers, and in any case should have also appeared on the initial promotions page.
We understood that the promotion only applied to jumps races on the two days prior to the Grand National, but Titanbet had left the promotion on those two pages of the website on the day of the Grand National. Consumers who clicked the “BET NOW” link would still be able to bet on a horse on the Grand National, but if their horse fell, was unseated or was brought down; they would not be entitled to the free bet. Given that the day after the promotion ended was the biggest UK jumps race of the year and also one of the biggest sporting betting events of the year, we considered that the Titanbet should have ensured that they had promptly removed the promotion from all sections of the website as soon as it had ended.
Because Titanbet had failed to promptly take down the promotion once it had ended, we concluded that the promotion had not been conducted under proper supervision and that it was likely to mislead consumers by suggesting that consumers would receive a free bet if they bet on a horse that fell at the Grand National. While we welcomed Titanbet’s decision to honour the promotion for all customers who had placed a bet after the promotion had ended, we concluded that the promotion had breached the Code.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 8.14 8.14 Promoters must ensure that their promotions are conducted under proper supervision and make adequate resources available to administer them. Promoters, agencies and intermediaries should not give consumers justifiable grounds for complaint. (Promotional marketing), 8.17 8.17 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: 8.17.4.a 8.17.4.a A prominent closing date, if applicable, for purchases and submissions of entries or claims. Closing dates are not always necessary, for example: comparisons that refer to a special offer (whether the promoter's previous offer or a competitor's offer) if the offer is and is stated to be "subject to availability"; promotions limited only by the availability of promotional packs (gifts with a purchase, extra-volume packs and reduced-price packs) and loyalty schemes run on an open-ended basis d 8.17.4.a 8.17.4.a A prominent closing date, if applicable, for purchases and submissions of entries or claims. Closing dates are not always necessary, for example: comparisons that refer to a special offer (whether the promoter's previous offer or a competitor's offer) if the offer is and is stated to be "subject to availability"; promotions limited only by the availability of promotional packs (gifts with a purchase, extra-volume packs and reduced-price packs) and loyalty schemes run on an open-ended basis (Significant conditions for promotions).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Titanbet to ensure in future that they promptly remove promotions from their website once they had ended.