Online gaming operator in double trouble with advertising watchdog

Sep 7th '16

Coral Interactive (Gibraltar) Ltd who trade as Coral found itself in trouble after Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) received complaints concerning two separate promotions after both failed to make clear which customers were actually eligible to take advantage of the free bet deals.


Both promotions were published in June, to capitalise on Euro 2016 bartball tournament.


Customers complained after taking up the first promotion, which stated “… Bet £/€20 on any team to win the Euros & get a free £/€10 bet every time a British or Irish team scores in the first round of matches.*…”.


Customers received the promotional email, placing their bets only to be informed that they were ineligible to participate in the offer, and challenged whether the promotion misleadingly implied the offer was open to all recipients.


Coral explained to the ASA that the email containing the promotion was targeted at specific individuals eligible to receive free bets, and in error was also sent to customers unable to take advantage of the promotion.


Although the ASA noted Coral’s willingness to take steps to rectify the error the watchdog upheld the complaint, considering that “anyone receiving the email would expect they could take advantage of the free bet offer”, and that “customers had been caused unnecessary disappointment”.


The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules: Misleading advertising and Promotional Marketing.


In the second case, the ASA received two complaints, relating to an email and pop-up ad on Coral’s website both seen on 15 June.


The email, which was received at 13:37 on 15 June 2016, stated “Bet £/€ 10 on the correct score for tomorrow’s highlight game, England v Wales, and if your selection loses, you’ll get a £/€ 10 free bet.*”. The ad featured two prominent hyperlinks with the text “Bet Now >>“. Further text at the bottom of the email stated “Terms and Conditions Apply *£/€10 FREE BET … Offer valid to bets struck from 8pm BST on the day before the nominated game until kick-off“.


The pop-up ad, seen on Coral Interactive’s website on 15 June, featured the headline claim “J’adore le Score! Bet £10 on correct Score. Get a £10 Free Bet if your selection loses“. Further text stated “We’ll select one match to get the J’adore le score’ treatment where we’re giving you a terrific £/€ 10 free bet if your correct score selection loses. Simply place a correct score bet of £/€ 10 + on selected ‘J’adore le score’ daily match and if your bet doesn’t win, we’ll give you a £10 free bet token.” Towards the bottom of the ad, there was a hyperlink labelled “Bet Now“. At the bottom of the page, the ad stated “Terms and Conditions”. Upon clicking this, the terms and conditions appeared, which included “offer valid to bets struck from 8pm BST on the day before the nominated game until kick-off”.


Complainants noted that customers were only eligible for the free bet if the initial wager was placed after 8pm, which Coral included in the terms and conditions, but the operator acknowledged an error in not including that information in the main body of the ads.


Again the ASA upheld the complaints, welcoming “welcomed Coral Interactive’s willingness to ensure that future time-sensitive promotions included all significant conditions.”.


Both breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules: Misleading advertising, Qualification & Significant conditions for promotions.


In both of these two cases, the ASA said that the ads must not appear again in their current forms, informing Coral that it must ensure future promotional advertising does not “misleadingly imply that an offer was open to everyone, unless that was the case.”, and that it must make clear all “significant conditions” of its promotions.


This is not the first time Coral has been warned over its advertising. Previously they were censured over a social media post for beaching marketing rules.


A tweet was posted by them in April 2016, and highlighted a special offer relating to Real Madrid’s match against Manchester City in the UEFA Champions League, in which punters who bet £5 on the Spanish side to win at odds of 5-4 would be paid out at 8-1.


A complaint was made, as the tweet said “the easiest £40 you’ll make this week”, implied the bet was risk-free, and also did not make it sufficiently clear winnings would be paid in free bet tokens.

Coral defended itself, and the ASA agreed that consumers would understand that Madrid were the favourites to win but that there was a risk of losing.


The ASA ruled against Coral on the second point, disagreeing with the bookmaker’s assertion that it was clear that winnings would be paid out in free bets.


The ASA told Coral to ensure they made it clear if winnings would be paid out in free bets and the ad must not appear again in its current form.


Source: ASA


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