The ads in question, promoting 888 brand 777.com and advertised on Betterdeals.live, claimed that “casinos are trying to shut down a free Android app” which was “allowing everyday people, like Simona Moron, to win huge progressive jackpots using nothing but free spins”.
Text stating “77 Free Spins (*T&C’s apply) ENABLED FOR ANOTHER” was accompanied by a three-minute countdown timer.
After the ads received a complaint, the ASA looked into whether the countdown timer was misleading, by suggesting the free spins were time-limited, in addition to examining the claims in the text.
The operator claimed that the ads were posted by a third-party affiliate publishing service, which it said posted them without 888’s approval.
The company stated that upon discovery of the ad, it was taken down on the same day.
Despite this, the ASA upheld the complaint, deciding that the posting of the ad was still 888’s responsibility as it was the beneficiary of the marketing material.
An ASA statement said: “We considered that consumers would understand that the countdown timer would relate to a specific time limitation in which the ‘77 free spins’ promotion needed to be claimed, and that once it ran down to zero the offer would no longer be available.
“However, we understood that if the page was refreshed, the timer would reset to start counting down from three minutes again. Therefore, because the promotion was not time limited, we concluded the ad was misleading.”
The regulatory body also upheld the complaints regarding the specific wording of the ads.
It said: “We considered that consumers would understand the claim ‘Casinos are trying to shut down a free Android App’ as an indication that action had been taken by casinos to try and prevent the app from operating.
“We also considered that consumers would understand the claim ‘that’s allowing everyday people, like Simona Moron, to win huge progressive jackpots using nothing but free spins’ as an indication that consumers had accrued sizeable winnings using only free spins. However, 777.com provided us with no evidence to support either claim.
“In the absence of such evidence, we concluded the ad was misleading.”
The ASA ruled that the ad must not appear again in the form complained about and that future advertising for 777 did not misleadingly imply that offers were time-limited if that was not the case.