Friday September 12,2014 : A.S.A. PANS LUXURY CASINO DIRECT MAIL SHOT
Online marketers need to be careful how they use the free money incentive in mail shots.
A direct mailing offer from the Luxury online casino, a subsidiary of Malta-licensed Apollo Entertainment Ltd, is the latest to attract the criticism of the UK Advertising Standards Authority, and will no longer be used in its present form.
Headed "Use Our Money to Win over £1,000,000" the text of the mailing urged punters to "…play your favourite slot, roulette, blackjack or video poker game at Luxury Casino, using a free money gift! There's absolutely no risk to your funds – just free money to spend in the casino as you wish".
Text at the bottom of the page told players: "Peel the seal now to reveal your free money gift! … £1,000 free Your unique Bonus Code is: [xxxx-xxxx], followed by the caveat: "Terms and conditions apply".
But when a member of the public claimed his "£1,000 free gift" he discovered that a deposit was required in order to take advantage of the offer, and that prompted him to challenge the ad as misleading.
The ASA upheld the complaint, finding that most consumers reading the mailer claims would believe that if they signed up for the offer they would receive a free bonus to be wagered on a variety of games, which they could access without depositing any of their own money.
"We understood, however, that the offer was in fact a ‘Match Bonus' offer, and therefore, to access the bonus funds, a consumer had to make five deposits, and a particular decreasing percentage of each would be awarded as bonus funds," the ASA commented.
"We also understood that those bonus funds were subject to wagering requirements. Whilst we noted that the letter included text at the bottom of the page stating "Terms and conditions apply", there was no further text explaining how the bonus offer worked or setting out the significant terms and conditions which applied to the offer.
"For those reasons we considered that the nature of the offer was not clear and concluded that the ad was misleading."