In the United Kingdom, Broadway Gaming Limited has agreed to pay a £100,000 ($133,667) penalty package after the Gambling Commission regulator ruled that a number of the online casino and bingo operator’s advertisements had breached a provision of its licensing code.
The Gambling Commission explained that it commenced an investigation into Broadway Gaming Limited after identifying ‘a number of promotions’ on the operator’s sites that could have been considered ‘misleading’. It stated that this suspicion was later upheld by the Advertising Standards Authority with the operator subsequently accepting that it had violated provision 18.104.22.168 of the regulator’s social responsibility code when it came to following guidance from the Committees of Advertising Practice and Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice on terms such as ‘free bet’ and ‘bonus’.
At issue was an advertisement on a mobile homepage for Broadway Gaming Limited’s Butlers Bingo brand that had advertised ‘Deposit £10. Play £35’. The Advertising Standards Authority declared that in this promotion, which was later found on other brands run by the operator including Casino of Dreams, Bingo Diamond, Rehab Bingo and Dotty Bingo, had been ‘misleading as it did not communicate significant conditions associated with the promotion’.
“The Advertising Standards Authority considered that, in the absence of information to indicate otherwise, consumers were unlikely to understand from the offer ‘Deposit £10. Play £35’ that, after they had wagered the initial £25 bonus, they would be required to wager further money before they could withdraw earnings from their accounts,” read a statement from the Advertising Standards Authority. “We noted, however, that users were not able to withdraw from their accounts until they met further wagering requirements.”
The Gambling Commission proclaimed that Broadway Gaming Limited had laid the blame for the offending advertisement squarely at the feet of its affiliate advertisers but nevertheless ‘accepted that it is responsible for the actions of its affiliates’. The regulator acknowledged that it had moreover asked the operator to provide ‘assurances’ that the future would see it exercising ‘greater control of the marketing material produced and published by affiliates’.
“We consider that this case provides valuable learning for remote and non-remote operators,” read a statement from the Gambling Commission. “Operators must ensure that they do not mislead consumers or more generally cause consumer confusion by using unclear and ambiguous terminology in the marketing and advertising of their products. Operators should take a proactive approach in assessing marketing and advertising promotions to ensure consumers are fully informed about the nature of the products on offer.”