A pair of UK gambling operators are finding out just how easy it is for anyone in the UK to lodge a complaint about their advertising, no matter how absurd that complaint happens to be. Both William Hill and Unibet were subject to investigations from the UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) that neatly illustrate why gaming operators are expecting to spend a lot more money on compliance, at the expense of profits.
In the Unibet case, a UK citizen was shocked to hear racecourse trainer, and Unibet blogger, Nicky Henderson mention his blog, which does appear on the Unibet content universe. The complainant suggested that because he is also a Unibet Brand Ambassador, that Unibet has complete editorial control of his content (which must have caused him to lose a lot of sleep).
The Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP), which oversees this type of thing, actually agreed with the complainant because Henderson is required to mention Unibet in his blogs. From here on out, Henderson’s tweets about his blog will include the hashtag #ad.
William Hill caught a similarly petty case from the ASA for an ad it ran during the World Cup that said, “William Hill customers are getting more every day of the World Cup. With two extra bet boosts available on all World Cup matches. All you need to decide is which odds to boost. Pre-match and in-play. And you still get your regular bet boost with William Hill every day to use on any sport. Simply make your selection, hit ‘boost’ on your bet slip, and you’re away. More boosts. More control. More to celebrate.”
A customer who saw that ad was aggrieved by the words, “all World Cup matches.” The budding Sherlock Holmes pointed out that “all World Cup” matches weren’t actually eligible for the promotion because William Hill stopped the promotion before the World Cup concluded.
In this case, the ASA provided the complainant with a dose of his own medicine by pointing out that William Hill did not say that the promotion was available to “all” customers. This bit of bureaucratic judo was enough to get William Hill off the hook, though it certainly cost them money to fight the case.
These stories are great examples of how much time and effort UK gambling operators are having to put into their compliance efforts and how those efforts will surely impact company revenues.