Lottoland, the operator specialising in bets on the lottery draws from around the globe, has been censured by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for a misleading ad campaign which gave the impression it offered lottery products.
The confusion stemmed from a radio ad for Lottoland which stated: “Chimp can’t believe it. At Lottoland the EuroMillions still costs just £2. Not £2.50. This Friday’s jackpot 100 million. So with Lottoland you can win the big jackpot for less. Download the app or go to lottoland.co.uk and get your first bet free.”
Lottoland stated that their advertising across all their platforms made a clear distinction between its gambling product and an actual lottery ticket by referring to the word “bet” or “betting”.
Regarding the radio ad, a reference to “bet” had been made on two separate occasions in a script which the complainant believed was short and along with all of its other branding and marketing believed consumers would understand that Lottoland was not a lottery company but a gambling operator.
It added that the ad’s reference to the cost of a EuroMillions lottery ticket and the jackpot were factual statements and informed consumers that they could win the same amount of money by placing a bet on the outcome and that it was cheaper than buying a lottery ticket.
However the ASA believes that the early mentions of the EuroMillions at the start of the advert, emphasised by a high-pitched voice over, ‘would give consumers the strong impression that the ad was promoting a lottery’.
The ASA explained that it agrees with the operator that the term ‘bet’ would help differentiate the products: “We considered that the term “bet” could help consumers understand that Lottoland were promoting a gambling product rather than an actual lottery, provided the ad made sufficiently clear that the term was made in the context of betting on the outcome of a lottery…
“However, we considered that the ad’s references to “bet” did not make clear that consumers would be gambling on the outcome of a lottery rather than actually participating in it and, consequently, did not dispel the impression given by the voice-over’s references at the start of the ad that a lottery was being promoted.”
The outcome is that the advert has been banned and Lottoland has been told to ensure future advertising did not misleadingly imply participants would be entering a lottery.
Totally Gaming says: Lottoland obviously wants to align itself with the lottery product as it is targeting their customers, but the operator hasn’t been reckless in its actions by any means. It had clearly told its advertising agency to take extra care to make clear in the ad that Lottoland offered a gambling service. Radio broadcasting organisation Radiocentre also suggested that the ad clearly differentiated Lottoland’s gambling service from the Euromillions lottery. It appears that in this instance the company has stepped over the line despite its best efforts.