Marketing for online gambling isn’t like marketing for anything else. Plugging clothing lines or beverages is not like regulated, real-money gambling platforms. It’s a lesson that is being learned the hard way for some across the pond.
In its latest crackdown, the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority has taken aim at the online gambling firm Unibet.
The ASA received three complaints in all that claimed they understood from the advertisements that players were required to place further bets at specified odds in order to withdraw funds and that they would receive a refund of the stake in bonus rather than cash if the bet was lost. The complaints maintained the claim “risk-free bet” in the ads was misleading.
Online-Casinos shared Unibet’s response, which stresses that the “wording of the offer was ‘commonly used’ in the gambling industry,” arguing that most players should know what such an offer entails.
“Unibet explained that it was not the case that six unique bets were required to be placed as part of the turnover, but rather the subsequent bet placed in and with the turnover must be six times in value of the refunded stake,” the statement reads.
Nonetheless, the ASA says the ads can’t reappear in their current form.
As some will recall, last year the ASA similarly ordered a controversial advertisement for a Paddy Power promotion to be banned without haste.
A statement from the ASA made its position crystal clear:
“The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Paddy Power to ensure their future ads did not cause serious or widespread offence and did not bring advertising into disrepute.”
Strong words, indeed.
So what did the offending marketers do? The Irish gambling juggernaut produced an ad that pledged a money back guarantee to consumers if South African Olympian Oscar Pistorius was found innocent (the athlete was accused of murdering his girlfriend).
The ad, we’re told, sparked outrage from its distaste and drew “thousands” of complaints — unprecedented according to the ASA.
Paddy Power was agreeable to the ASA’s ruling though it doesn’t seem as though the wave of negative publicity has hurt business in any meaningful way.