ASA Backs Complaint against Lottoland’s Online Ads
The UK’s regulator of advertising, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), announced Wednesday it upheld a complaint against EU Lotto Ltd, trading as Lottoland.
Advertising Standards Authority Uncovers Misleading Ads
The hurdle originated from two ads from Lottoland, one of which appeared in May on Bing search, while the other appeared on Google. Both ads were spotted by the ASA and deemed as misleading. The Authority explained that the operator’s games offered an opportunity for the clients to bet on the outcome of a lottery instead of participating in the lottery itself.
“The complainant, who understood the Lotto games provided an opportunity to bet on the outcome of a lottery rather than participate in the lottery itself, challenged whether the ads were misleading,“
According to the ASA, the text of the ad that appeared on Bing stated: “Lottoland Irish Lottery – Only £2 Here” and “£209m US Powerball Lotto. £56m Megamillions 6for1. Contact us. Play here.” On the other hand, the Authority pointed out that the Google ad offered: “Lottoland Irish Lottery – only £2 Here” and “Charity Combo for £2. Win-win charity Lotto + BRC Scratch 50% off. Support UK Charities Here.”
The Authority Concludes Ads Were Likely to Mislead
The Authority’s latest decision to uphold its complaint against Lottoland comes after the operator agreed to complete changes to the aforementioned ads and ensure their compliance. However, the ASA said that the operator was unable to include the necessary clarifications and change the ads due to issues related to third-party templates for the advertisements. This happened despite Lottoland agreeing voluntarily to complete the changes.
“The ad must not appear in the form complained of. We told EU Lotto Ltd t/a Lottland to ensure that their ads did not mislead by omitting the fact that their service offered the chance to bet on the outcome of a lottery, and to ensure that references to betting were clear and included prominently in their ads,”
As a result, the ASA concluded that the operator’s ads breached CAP Code rules 3.1 and 3.3 and were likely to mislead consumers. According to rule 3.1, “marketing communications must not materially mislead or be likely to do so,” while 3.3 prohibits ads from misleading consumers by hiding important information or presenting the offer in an “unclear, unintelligible, ambiguous or untimely manner.” Consequently, the ASA said that those advertisements must not appear in the same form as the complaint describes them.
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