The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) issued a ruling on an accusation filed against EU Lotto Ltd, trading as Lottoland. The complaint was filed in relation to a radio advert of Lottoland, heard on 27th September 2016.
The ad featured a voice-over, according to which EuroMillions costed £2 at Lottoland, and the Friday’s jackpot was £100 million. The advert also called potential customers to download the brand’s application or visit its official website to get their first bet free of charge. Then, there was another voice-over which referred to the legal disclaimer of the offer and explained that offer was available for residents of Great Britain only. In addition, the voice-over further explained that the first free bet is on EuroMillions or equivalent price lottery.
The individual who filed the complaint said they understood that the product was a gambling game and accused the brand of releasing a misleading ad, which implied the product was a lottery.
Lottoland responded to the complainant’s accusations, saying that their advertising campaigns differentiated the gambling product and an actual lottery ticket. According to the company, the word “bet” used in the advert, corresponded to its branding and marketing policy, so it would be clear enough for customer, who were supposed to understand that Lottoland was a gambling operator rather than a lottery company.
The company further explained that the reference to EuroMillions lottery ticket were made to inform customers they could win the same amount of money by wagering on the outcome.
The advertising agency of Lottoland also confirmed that they took care to make it absolutely clear in the advert that only gambling services were offered by the company, and that the term “bet” was included in the legal disclaimer.
The Advertising Standards Authority initiated an investigation on the matter and later issued a ruling that some of the statements made by the main voice-over would imply that the advert was actually promoting a lottery. In addition, the watchdog explained that some of the references made by the voice-over and concerning the disclaimer, also contributed to the overall impression that a lottery product was being promoted.
According to the experts of the Advertising Standards Authority, the term “bet” used in the advert could help the brand’s customers to learn that actually a gambling product was being promoted, and not an actual lottery in case that the advert’s terms were clear enough.
What is more, the watchdog explained that the main voice-over also referred to the website of Lottoland, where players would be granted with their first bet free, but the voice-over for the disclaimer referred to EuroMillions. This is exactly why the ASA ruled that the advert did not make it clear enough for the users that they would be gambling on the outcome of a lottery instead of actually taking part in it.
The Advertising Standards Authority ruled that Lottoland breached the BCAP Code rules 3.1, 3.2, 3.3 and 3.3.1 related to Misleading Advertising in its advert. It said that the ad must not be released in its current form any more and recommended the brand gambling operator’s brand to make it sure its future ads were not misleading to customers.