Adverse ASA rulings against gambling operators continue to mount

Adverse ASA rulings against gambling operators have continued since we reported on the 30 May 2018 rulings against Progress Play and TGP Europe and the 20 June 2018 ruling against Coral (Interactive (Gibraltar) Limited.

Today the ASA has upheld complaints against AG Communications Limited (t/a as on the following grounds:

  • Consumers would understand the “tips and tricks” claims for winning Karamba’s online slots game “Starburst”, including “Wins at the minimum bet rate are much less frequent … and smaller”, “it is possible to change your luck” and “Playing at off-peak times could earn you higher winnings!”, to mean that by using those strategies it would significantly improve their chances of winning, including after playing that game unsuccessfully. The ASA had not seen any evidence in support of the top tips claims and therefore considered that those claims had not been substantiated and were misleading.
  • Claims on Karamba’s website that suggested that placing higher bets increases the chances of winning, that a consumer’s luck could change if they had not been winning, and that other strategies could improve the chances of winning, condoned and encouraged irresponsible gambling behaviour that could lead to financial, social or emotional harm. The ASA therefore concluded that the ad was irresponsible and was in breach of the Code that requires that marketing communications for gambling are socially responsible and do not portray, condone or encourage gambling behaviour that is irresponsible or that could lead to financial, social or emotional harm.

On 4 July 2018, it upheld complaints against:

  • EU Lotto Limited on the ground that it considered:
    • consumers were likely to understand that the value quoted in the ad – “PowerBall £169 million” – was the prize EU Lotto Ltd would pay out if a participant chose the correct winning numbers in the next PowerBall draw. It considered consumers’ normal expectations would be that the whole amount would be paid out in a single sum immediately after the draw and
    • it was not sufficient for EU Lotto Ltd to state separately from the ad, via Help and FAQ links, material information that the jackpot value would always be reduced to take account of the tax that would be paid on the official lottery prize; that participants opting for the single lump sum rather than the 30-year term would receive a reduced amount – 60%, of the remaining balance after tax – and that, if the official PowerBall prize was split between more than one winner, the value quoted in the ad would be split in a similar way. The ASA considered that this information needed to be stated prominently in the main ad using wording that consumers would be able to absorb easily.
  • NRR Limited (t/a Slotty Vegas) on the ground that it considered:
    • in the absence of any further qualification within the claim “our games pay more”, consumers would understand that to mean that players would receive a higher payout from games on the Slotty Vegas website than from games on other online casinos. It therefore expected to see evidence to show that Slotty Vegas’ games paid more compared to the rest of the market and
    • whilst the claim was based on the Slotty Vegas “Supercharged Wins” feature (that topped up player’s winnings with an extra amount which could be exchanged for cash) and Slotty Vegas had (a) referred to a casino margin and a standard industry RTP payout rate and (b) provided information about their own revenues and how much they paid out in winnings, they did not provide any specific data to show how much their competitors paid out in winnings in order to substantiate the comparative claim. The ASA therefore concluded that, in the absence of evidence to demonstrate that Slotty Vegas’ games paid more than their competitors, the claim “our games pay more” was misleading.