Coral pledges to increase advert safeguards

Coral pledges to increase advert safeguards

Thursday, September 8, 2016 Posted by Andy McCarron
Two ASA judgements in a week has seen Coral review procedures

Coral is to introduce another layer of review to its promotions after the bookmaker fell foul of two Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) judgements in a week.

A time specific promotion sent out ahead of time and a promotion mistakenly marketed to a database of people who were ineligible for that promotion has seen Coral decide that it needs to ramp up its internal procedures.

It told the ASA that it had begun taking steps to ensure that time-sensitive promotions always carried significant conditions in the main body of ads, and were also introducing a second internal compliance review of all promotions to ensure fairness and compliance with the Code.

The main promotion had offered recipients the chance to bet £/€20 on any team to win the Euros & get a free £/€10 bet every time a British or Irish team scores in the first round of matches. However, as Coral admitted, the targeted promotion was only valid for selected customers, but due to human error it had been sent to some customers who were restricted from receiving free bets. A follow-up email was sent to advise those customers that they were in fact not eligible for the promotion and apologising for any inconvenience caused, but three recipients made complaints to the ASA, which were upheld.

The ASA said that those customers who had restricted accounts had been caused unnecessary disappointment. It added: “Moreover, because the ad implied that anyone receiving the email was eligible to take up the offer, when that was not the case, we concluded that it was misleading. We welcomed Coral Interactive's willingness to take steps to rectify the error.”

Meanwhile, the time sensitive promotion was ruled against because it didn’t make clear that the bonus offer was only available after a certain time. The confusion was compounded because the marketing used the standard call to action phrase ‘Bet Now’.

The ASA added: “We noted that the terms and conditions at the bottom of the email, which could only be viewed after scrolling down, stated “Offer valid to bets struck from 8pm BST on the day before the nominated game until kick-off”. However, we considered that that text could be easily overlooked and was not sufficiently prominent to counter the overall impression that any bet placed after receipt of the email would be eligible for the offer.

“We considered that the time-restriction was a significant condition and therefore should been included within the main body of the ad. Because the ad did not make the condition sufficiently clear, we concluded that the ad was likely to mislead.”

It also concluded that having terms and conditions of the offer “one-click away” rather than in the body of the message added to the confusion.

Totally Gaming Says: Coral accidentally emailing a promotional bonus email to registered customers who were bonus restricted suggests that the bookmaker needed to add in some additional safeguards before the ASA got involved, so this low level misdemeanour could actually be a blessing in disguise. 

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