New CAP standards on ‘free’ bets and bonuses take immediate effect

Accompanying today’s announcement by the Committees of Advertising Practice (“CAP”) of tougher standards on gambling advertising (focusing on advertisements’ appeal to problem gamblers), are new standards on free bets and bonuses that come into force immediately today.

CAP’s Guidance for advertisers of free bets and bonuses (that can be downloaded below) are intended to help advertisers understand the ASA, CAP and Gambling Commission’s current position on acceptable claims in gambling advertisements and how terms and conditions should be displayed or signposted, for example:

  • significant conditions must always be prominently displayed with an advertised offer
  • other terms and conditions of the offer need to be, at most, one click away from the advertising.

Failure to qualify free bets and bonus offers in the above way are described as “unacceptable and will lead to sanction by the ASA”.

Significant conditions are defined as “those which are likely to affect a consumer’s understanding of the promotion, and are likely to include any requirement for a consumer to deposit their own funds, restricted odds, eligibility, wagering and withdrawal requirements”.

CAP’s news item on this topic (that can also be downloaded below) states that:

  • The majority of complaints to the ASA about terms and conditions in gambling ads are about the requirement for consumers to make a deposit to access their “free bets/bonus” or the number of times they must then wager their “free bet” and deposit money before they are allowed to withdraw any winnings
  • CAP’s work on this complements the work the Competition and Markets Authority has done to ensure gambling firms are upfront and clear about their promotional terms and conditions, while also making them fairer
  • The standards also make clear that “money back” offers must be in cash and not bonuses; “risk free” offers must incur no loss to the consumer; and when it comes to “matched bets”, any stake limitation should be treated as a significant condition and stated upfront.




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