If you’re wondering who’s been in trouble with the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) this month, then look no further than 888.com and its owners, Cassava Enterprises (Gibraltar) Ltd.
Famous for their online sports-betting, bingo and casino sites, 888 got rapped on the knuckles for a misleading mailer after a complaint was lodged by one of their casino members.
Having received an email telling him that 888.com had opened him a Casino-on-Net player account with a free £10 credit and “no strings attached,” he was not happy to find that having wagered the tempting tenner and winning £10.70, he was unable to withdraw his credit due to a minimum withdrawal requirement.
Our maddened member immediately reported his concerns to the ASA, claiming that the ad was misleading as it did not state the minimum withdrawal conditions.
In the defending corner, the 888.com parent company donned their boxing gloves and stated that Casino-on-Net’s terms and conditions did not allow withdrawals of under £30, and that the offending email in question did in fact contain a link allowing the recipients to review their withdrawal policy prior to signing up. They went on to argue that Mr. X would be able to withdraw his winnings once they met with their requirements. However, they admit that due to their withdrawal policy, players could continue to add bonus funds to their account, but not be able to withdraw them, if they had not been wagered in accordance with their terms and conditions.
The ASA agreed that players had to agree to the casino’s Bonus Policy and End User Licence Agreement when opening their account, and that the £30 minimum withdrawal was referred to in these documents, but not in the advert itself. However, they felt that the phrase “No deposit – no strings attached” was misleading as a) players who won money as a result of the free £10 offer were more likely to want to withdraw their winnings prior to placing any further bets, and b) that the £30 minimum policy was likely to influence whether a player took up the offer or not, and should therefore have been stated in the advert.
They concluded that 888 had breached rules 3,1, 3,3 and 3,9 relating to misleading advertising and qualifying requirements, and instructed 888 to ensure that any such conditions were included in their future adverts.
Do you think that online bingo and casino sites should have more flexible withdrawal policies? Should they be forced to disclose them more clearly when sending their members special offers? Let us know what you think…