Online sportsbook behemoth Coral Interactive have found themselves in trouble after players complained to the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority). The complaints concerned two separate promotions, which offered free bets. A total of five players complained, all feeling like the brand falsely advertised promotions in June, which were ran to capitalise on the Euro 2016 tournament.
Three of the five complaints concerned a promotion which offered a free £10 each time a British team scored in the opening round of matches, providing they'd wagered at least £20 on any team to with the Euro 2016 tournament.
The three players each received a promotional email, and placed their £20 bets. However, afterwards they were informed by Coral that they were ineligible to participate in the offer.
They challenged the sportsbook on whether the promotion misleadingly implied the offer was open to all recipients. Coral have argued that the email containing the promotion was only intended for selected customers, yet in error was also set to players unable to claim the free cash.
Coral sent out a follow-up email, apologising to all affected customers, although did not offer a refund. The ASA have upheld the complaint, stating that ‘anyone receiving the email would expect they could take advantage of the free bet offer' and that ‘customers have been caused unnecessary disappointment'.
The second complaint, made by two players, was in relation to a different email, and a pop-up ad on the brand's website. Both the email and the advert promoted £10 free bets for players who wagered £10 on a losing correct score selection.
The players complained as they were not aware that customers were only eligible for the free bet if the initial bet was placed after 8pm. This caveat was included in the promotion's terms and conditions, however Coral have acknowledged that it was wrong to not include that information in the main body of the advert and email.
The ASA have stated that they are upholding the complaint, yet they are pleased with Coral's acknowledgment of their error and that they will welcome ‘Coral Interactive’s willingness to ensure that future time-sensitive promotions included all significant conditions”.
There is another complaint made by one player, about the same promotion, after he realised that the free bet can only be spent on Euro 2016 bets. Nowhere in the terms and conditions is this stated and that it ‘comes across as a £10 free sports bet'. He added that it now seems like ‘false promotion'. This complaint has not formally been registered, although it does signify more misleading decisions from the brand.
In both cases, the ASA have decided that these ads cannot appear again in their current forms. It's not entirely useful mind, as the Euro 2016 tournament is already finished.
The ASA did, however, add that Coral Interactive now must ensure that all future promotional advertising must not ‘misleadingly imply that an offer is open to everyone' and that they must make ‘significant conditions' clear in their promotions.
Here at Droid Slots we're always encouraging our readers to make sure they read the terms and conditions of any offer thoroughly, although we are similarly disappointed with the sportsbook for acting irresponsibly. There will be pressure on Coral to make sure they don't slip up again, and with two warnings from the ASA, it's certain that they'll be being watched carefully.