Marathonbet warned by ASA over misleading free bet promotion

By Tom Lewis
The UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has issued a warning to operator Marathonbet concerning a misleading promotion, which failed to make clear that a portion of customer’s winnings would be paid out in free bets.

The promotional text stated: “New customer offer... 2/1 Willie Mullins top trainer”, while smaller text underneath read: “Max bet £10. Minimum stake £5. Only £5 of your bet paid at 2/1 odds. Enhanced price paid as a free bet...”

Marathonbet.co.uk promoted the offer in March for new customers for the Cheltenham Festival, with one complainant, who believed the conditions of the offer to be unclear, challenging whether the advert was misleading.

In spite of Marathonbet’s response that significant qualifications and limitations of the offer were made clear in the ad, with the “terms and conditions” hyperlink within the advert telling customers how to participate and how winnings would be paid, the complaint has been upheld by the ASA.

The ASA considered that the text in the promotion did not adequately make clear what the “enhanced price” and “free bet” claims related to.

Furthermore, it said: “In the context of the ad as a whole we considered that consumers participating in the offer would expect their winnings to be paid out in cash at the odds of 2/1.”

In closing, the ASA stated that “the ad must not appear again in its current form,” while Marathonbet must ensure that future ads make clear “if a portion of participants winnings would be paid out in free bets”.

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