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ASA Studying Betfair Happy Hour Promo Screwup
Posted 2/17/11 : Results of enquiry expected soon
The huge furore than ensued towards the end of last year following an apparently botched Betfair promo seems to have triggered one or more public complaints with Britain's advertising watchdog, the Advertising Standards Association.
In response to an enquiry this week, ASA spokesman Matt Wilson advised: "Further to your query, the ASA did launch a formal investigation into the Betfair “Casino happy hour promotion”. We will be publishing our findings in this case shortly."
Players on gambling message boards across the internet posted numerous complaints that Betfair not only withdrew an apparently badly designed promo that gave players an advantage, but subsequently made a number of controversial decisions regarding player account balances, despite the fact that the punters involved claimed they had complied with the promo T&Cs.
In one now infamous incident, a Portuguese player claimed that Euro 32 000 was 'reclaimed' from his bank account by the gambling group, an occurrence that motivated him to launch complaints with a slew of banking and licensing jurisdictions and trade associations.
The situation was further exacerbated by the lack of general and public statements on the row by Betfair - a surprising omission given the high level of complaints and the ill-will which greeted the manner in which the debacle was handled.
This sort of issue is not without precedent in the industry; one of the more memorable cases occurred some years ago when a major online gambling group erred on a promotion, and absorbed the consequent multi-million dollar costs itself rather than passing them on through disqualifications on players who had taken part.
The outcome of the ASA investigation will be keenly followed by the player community. Although the ASA lacks real teeth in a punitive sense, its decisions receive wide publicity, and an adverse finding against Betfair could exacerbate an already bad PR problem.
See ASA sanctions here: http://www.asa.org.uk/ASA-action/Sanctions.aspx
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