Over the years we have seen multiple brands fall foul of the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for misleading marketing or for floating the BCAP and CAP codes around advertising of online gambling.
An ‘Upheld’ ruling from the ASA results in little more than a slap on the wrist and the cost to the company involved will be little more than creating a new advertising campaign.
However, when an online gambling brand continued to flout the rules that have been laid out by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) with regards to advertising their wares, the result was more than just a slap on the wrist. The hit was far more financial than that for bgo Entertainment Ltd!
In May 2015 a change in the Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice (LCCP) meant that all gambling companies had to include limitations and terms and conditions of any offer they had. You may have noticed that banner adverts now have small print on where prior to this, they were not seen.
When a promotion is live on site, all the relevant wagering requirements and pertinent terms and conditions have to be fully accessible by the end user.
In July 2015, concerns were raised by the UKGC with regards to the advertising from bgo and an investigation was undertaken. The results of this were:
- bgo and its affiliates published misleading advertisements for promotions
- bgo did not take timely and effective action to address the misleading advertisements
- bgo provided inaccurate assurances that the issues had been fully addressed
Despite having commissioned their own Copy Advice Audit in May 2016 and several recommendations for changes required being offered by the Audit, bgo did not make any of the alterations.
The UKGC had to make further contact with bgo and it was only in July 2016 that the changes were made. However, details of further breaches relating to advertising were found on websites of third parties working with bgo in August, September and October of 2016.
It was this that resulted in the final decision by the UKGC [read the full decision here] to slap a hefty fine on bgo Entertainment of £300,000!