A direct email to BetBright customers stated:
“CHECK OUT OUR BRAND NEW APP
£5 RISK FREE BET
We have a brand new app and as if you needed a reason to download it, we're going to give you one anyway: a £5 RISK FREE bet for anyone who does.
1. Download the new BetBright App here
2. Place a £5 bet on any sport today
3. If you lose, we will give you a £5 free bet tomorrow…
Download the app now - It's a no-brainer.
Terms & Conditions
*Offer only available to named recipients receiving this offer directly from BetBright via email. Min bet £5. Max refund £5. Offer only applies to bets placed on the BetBright App on 01/03/2016. Minimum odds of 2.0. Money back as a free bet. Losing bets only. Single bets only. Only applies to pre-match bets. Free bet to be used on any market on 01/03/2016. Free bets will be credited by 12pm on 01/03/2016. Cannot be used with any other offers…”
The complainant said that the headline of the email offered him a "£5 Risk Free Bet" if he downloaded the relevant mobile app. On further examination of the content of the email, however, he discovered that if he lost his first bet he would receive a further free £5 bet the following day. The complainant considered that the offer was not ‘risk free’ as stated, and could only be ‘risk free’ were he to receive a refund of his £5 stake. He said that if it was the case that his original £5 bet and his subsequent £5 free bet lost he would lose his original stake and this could not be described as ‘risk free’.
The advertisers said that the complainant in this case would be a customer who had opted in to receive their email promotions. They considered this to be an important factor, as on the whole their customers would be educated and familiar with the language and terminology used in the gambling industry.
The advertisers said that the email which the complainant received had very clearly stated that if a customer staked a £5 bet, and it lost, they would receive a £5 free bet; which in the industry, was known as a ‘Risk Free Bet’. They said this information had not been hidden in the terms and conditions or small print, it had featured in the top body of the email, in step three of three steps, with 100% clarity. The advertisers said that ‘Risk Free Bet’ was a term used by the industry over a long period of time, has been used as long as the industry has existed online and will continue to be used.
In summary, the advertisers said their promotional material was sent by email to a consumer who had requested promotional material from them. They considered the material in question to be 100% clear in context in relation to what was being offered, had used phraseology and terminology that was 100% relevant and clear to the audience in question, and had not been misleading or exaggerated in any form or manner.
In conclusion, the advertisers said they take the promotion of their services and responsibilities to their customers extremely seriously, alongside their responsibilities to the UK Gambling Commission.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint and the advertisers’ response. The Complaints Committee noted that the marketing communication had offered a “Risk Free” bet to anyone who downloaded the app and while the advertisers said that the term “Risk Free Bet” was widely used in the industry, they had not provided evidence to substantiate this claim.
The Committee considered that the body copy of the email had made it clear that the “Risk Free” element was that if the first bet was not successful, the advertisers would provide the user with a £5 free bet tomorrow.
The Committee were concerned, however, that the phrase “Risk Free” could be understood by some consumers to be that if they lost their initial bet, their stake would be refunded to them. As this was not the case, the Complaints Committee considered the description “Risk Free” to be misleading and in breach of Sections 4.1, 4.4 and 5.5 of the Code.
The advertising should not run in the same form again.