ASA Backlashes 888 UK for Misleading Gambling Advertorial Published by Affiliate Marketer

Olivia Cole

The British gambling operator 888 UK Ltd felt the backlash of the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) this week. The advertising regulator investigated three issues and upheld all of them.

According to reports, a complainant addressed the ASA over an advertorial for, which they saw on the platform on June 14th, 2021. At the top part of the page, a heading saying “This is a Slot Machine App You Should be Playing in 2021” was placed, followed by text saying that a 32-year-old player won the progressive jackpot by using the free spins offered at the 777 Slots app.

The message also noted that casinos are trying to limit the access of customers to a free Android App allowing them to win massive progressive jackpot prices. There was also a 3-minute countdown timer at the bottom of the page, along with some text saying “77 Free Spins ENABLED FOR ANOTHER”.

The complainant challenged whether the countdown timer that was displayed on the advertorial page was misleading because the offer for the free spins did not disappear when the timer reached zero. The Advertising Standards Authority, on the other hand, challenged whether two of the claims in the advertorial were misleading and if the operator could provide evidence to support them.

888 UK Responds to Complainant’s Claims Regarding Allegedly Misleading Ad

The gambling operator responded to the complaints and explained that 888 UK had a policy regarding the third-party publishers who created marketing materials for the company. As the British gambling company said, third-party publishers that were supposed to create ads for 888 UK were prohibited from using agencies that had not been provided by the company’s brand.

The company further explained that in this very case, a creative that had been neither designed nor approved by 888 UK had been used by the third-party publisher, who also had posted the advert without the company’s knowledge and approval.

The operator’s brand revealed the ads were identified by the company on July 2nd, 2021. After that, it instructed the third-party publisher to remove the advertorial on the same day and then suspended all campaigns with that publisher until further notice. Any further collaborations with the relevant third-party publisher would happen after a special review and monitoring process of the potential campaigns of the company’s promotional materials.

ASA Upholds All Claims againt Controversial Ad of 888 UK

The Advertising Standards Authority found that the controversial advert was published by an affiliate operator without the knowledge and the preliminary approval of 888 UK, which is a violation of the two companies’ agreement. However, the regulatory body still believes that the gambling company bears the responsibility for the advert and for responding to the investigation held by the ASA.

The ASA noted that customers could be misled to believe that the countdown timer would relate to a specific time limit for the free spins promotion and once the timer ran down, they would not be able to take advantage of the offer anymore. That is why the UK advertising watchdog found that, on that point, the advert breached rules 3.1 regarding misleading advertising, as well as 8.17 and 8.17.4e regarding significant conditions for promotions from the CAP Code.

The advertising regulatory body also considered that consumers would be misled to understand some of the claims made in the advert in the wrong way. Considering the fact that the gambling company did not provide any evidence to support either of the controversial claims in the advertorial, the ASA concluded that the ad was misleading. On that point, it breached rules 3.1 regarding misleading advertising and 3.7 regarding substantiation of the CAP Code.

The Advertising Standards Authority ruled that the ad must not appear in the form complained about anymore. It also told the gambling operator to make sure that adequate evidence is provided for any claims made in its 777 brand’s ads, even in cases when such ads are placed by third-party marketers.

Olivia Cole

Olivia Cole

Olivia Cole has worked as a journalist for several years now. Over the last couple of years she has been engaged in writing about a number of industries and has developed an interest for the gambling market in the UK.

Daniel Williams
Author: Wanda Peters