Betfair hit by ad ban for 'misleading' consumers

Online betting company Betfair has had its TV and web adverts banned after the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled that they misled customers over a money back promise. 

Four consumers challenged whether the ads, which featured text such as “2014 Wimbledon first bet only money back if Murray wins”, were misleading because they understood that consumers actually received a free bet token.

Betfair said that as the ads were restricted by space, it used “Money Back” rather than “Money Back as a Free Bet” to describe the offers as it claimed the term was “well understood” by the average consumer of gambling services.

It said on clicking on the offers, pop-up messages appeared which clearly set out all the conditions. 

The betting company added that as it was not possible to take part in the promotions without seeing the pop-up message, they believed that the ads were not misleading.

They acknowledged, however, that the World Cup and Wimbledon ad boxes initially promoting the offers did not make sufficiently clear that the stake was returned as a free bet, and said they would ensure similar ads would make clear the nature of the “money-back offer” in future.

In its ruling the ASA said that although it welcomed Betfair’s willingness to amend its ads, the watchdog deemed them misleading as the terms of the “money back” and “refund” offer were not made immediately clear to consumers. 

They must not appear again in their current form. 

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