Monday August 19,2013 : LATEST A.S.A. RULING A WARNING SHOT FOR ONLINE CASINOS
With the new point-of-consumption licensing on the horizon, promotional offers could come in for closer scrutiny.
The latest online gambling advertising judgement from the UK Advertising Standards Authority illustrates that more care will be necessary when it comes to advertising and promotions in the UK market place.
This is particularly important as the new point-of-consumption secondary licensing and taxation amendments to British law loom on the 2014 horizon , compelling operators who want to access the Brit punter to submit to Brit laws and standards.
The ASA ruling was applied to a promo offer from Bayton Limited, trading as Spin Palace that was pretty much standard as such things go in the online casino business; it promised punters a bonus that was not withdrawable until a wagering requirement had been met.
But a British punter lodged a complaint, and the ASA investigated it, finding that the Malta-based and licensed Spin Palace was at fault.
The ASA reported that the advertisement in question was displayed on the Spin Palace website as "£1000 FREE …1st deposit – 100% Match Bonus".
The complainant, who had taken up the offer, challenged whether the ad was misleading, because it did not make clear that any money deposited could not be withdrawn until wagering requirements were met.
Spin Palace claimed the ad contained a link which stated "Click here for terms" and that when that link was clicked on, full and comprehensive terms could be viewed.
The online casino pointed out that welcome bonuses such as theirs were widely used in the online casino industry and that they were considered a fair and standard practice, and that the casino did not believe that the condition in question was any more significant than any other, including those that related to age verification, fraud and the parties' obligations.
However, the ASA upheld the complaint and ruled that the advert must not appear again in its current form.
"We considered that that condition would be crucial to consumers' understanding of the offer and of the commitment that they would have to make in order to take advantage of it, particularly as the offer was aimed at new players who might subsequently decide that they did not wish to continue to use the site and who would then be unable to retrieve their original deposit without wagering 40 times its value," the adjudicator said.
"We considered that such a condition was sufficiently significant that it would need to be clearly stated in the ad itself and, because that was not the case, we concluded that the ad was misleading."
See the full ruling here: http://www.asa.org.uk/Rulings/Adjudications/2013/7/Bayton-Ltd/SHP_ADJ_224972.aspx