On 9 August the Advertising Standards Authority ("ASA") issued a ruling against online casino operator Nektan (Gibraltar) Limited (t/a Sapphire Rooms). The ruling related to a banner advert published here, which advertised a promotion for bonus funds. The ASA held that the advert was misleading as it omitted material information in respect of the customers’ ability to withdraw winnings generated from use of the bonus.

The Advert

The main offer of the advert 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”.

As is common with gambling bonus promotions, wagering requirements applied to the customers’ ability to cash out the bonus and winnings derived from it. If a player decided to take advantage of the offer, he/she had to make a deposit and upon doing so would receive the bonus. In order to withdraw winnings generated from use of the bonus, the player had to wager an amount equal to 30 times the deposit and bonus. Upon meeting the wagering requirements, the available bonus balance automatically converted to cash funds but this was limited to a maximum of four times the bonus amount awarded.

A complainant challenged whether it was made sufficiently clear in the ad that such a cap applied to the cash funds.

The Ruling

The ASA held that both the wagering requirement and the cap on withdrawable funds were significant conditions and therefore had to be set out in the advert itself. Whilst the former was included, the latter was not (being only set out in the main terms and conditions and not in the fine print in the ad).

The ASA ruled that the advert was in breach of CAP Code rules 3.1 (that marketing communications must not materially mislead) and 3.9 (that marketing communications must state significant limitations and qualifications). In addition to this, the ASA held that the advert breached rules 18.17 and 18.17.1 which provide that adverts must communicate all applicable significant conditions; specifically terms that dictate how to participate.

The ASA’s full ruling can be found here.