On 16 August the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) issued a ruling against online gambling operator PT Entertainment Services Ltd (trading as Titanbet). The ASA held that the ad in question was likely to mislead consumers – as it did not clearly state the end date of the promotion it was advertising - and that it was not conducted under proper supervision.
On the promotions webpage of gambling operator Titanbet (www.titanbet.co.uk), text stated “Enjoy free bets and cash bonuses with Titanbet promotions!”. Below this were links to a number of different promotions including one stating “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” beside an image of a horse race. The linked offer page said “Faller Insurance! Free Bet if your Horse is a Faller. T&Cs apply” with a “Bet Now” link included immediately below. Below this, smaller text in the middle of a paragraph stated "If your horse either falls, unseats or is brought down 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”.
A complainant, who remarked that neither the ad nor the ‘Bet Now’ link had been taken down on 8 April, after the promotion had ended, believed the ad misleadingly suggested the promotion applied to the Grand National (which was taking place on 8 April). Consequently, the complainant challenged whether the promotion was conducted in accordance with the CAP Code.
The ASA’s Ruling
The ASA held consumers who saw the Titanbet promotions page on 8 April were likely to understand from the claim “place a bet on any UK jumps race” that the promotion applied to the Grand National. The ASA also held that consumers were likely to understand the same after clicking on the link and reading the headline claim “Free Bet if your Horse is a Faller”. Whilst the ASA acknowledged that the smaller text below the headline claim included the closing date of the promotion, it did not consider it sufficiently prominent and held that it was likely to be overlooked by consumers. It also held that the information contained in the smaller text should have appeared on the initial promotions page.
Due to the special status that the Grand National holds in the UK – as the biggest UK jumps race of the year and also one of the biggest sporting betting events of the year - the ASA felt that it was particularly likely that a consumer would assume the promotion would apply. As a result the ASA held that the ad should have been taken down upon the promotion ending.
The ASA concluded that the promotion breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 8.14 and 8.17, 8.17.4.A, for not being conducted under proper supervision and for being likely to mislead consumers, respectively. It is worth noting that the ASA reached this conclusion despite Titanbet honouring the promotion for all customers who placed a bet after the promotion had ended.
The full report of the hearing is available here.