The UK Advertising Standards Authority recently received a complaint that challenged the headline banner on the Betway.com website promoting a £50 risk-free bet.
According to the complainant, the "risk free bet" claim was misleading because customers would not always get their money back.
Betway.com stated that the "risk-free" element of the offer related to the first deposit and to nothing else and that the terms and conditions provided to consumers clear and unambiguous information relating to the offer.
The Advertising Standards Authority noted the ad invited consumers to sign up for a "£50 risk-free bet", however the terms and conditions demonstrated that customers were actually required to deposit and bet with their own money and that the "free bet" was in fact a refund which was only made to qualifying customers. Customers were refunded the amount of their deposit (up to a maximum of £50) but that this money was awarded as bonus funds and therefore could not be withdrawn as cash. That bonus amount also needed to be wagered five times in the Sportsbook or Casino parts of the website in order for any winnings then to be withdrawn as cash, meaning that players who were refunded the £50 sum referred to in the ad needed to wager at least £250 before any cash withdrawal could be made. Furthermore, refunds were only made to registrants if their account balance reached zero at some point within the seven days from registration.
ASA said that these conditions did not meet the consumer expectation of a "risk free bet".
Where for internet banner ads, ASA permits that terms and conditions are provided no more than one click-away from the ad, in this case there was no direct link between the £50 free bet banner and the offer's terms and conditions.
Everything considered, ASA concluded that the Betway.com ad was misleading and in breach of CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1, 3.3 (Misleading advertising), 3.9 (Qualifications) and 8.18 (Sales promotions).
The Advertising Standards Authority ruled the ad should not appear again in its current form and told Betway to clearly and accurately qualify "risk-free bet" offers in the future.