July 05, 2018

UK watchdog spanks Lottoland over PowerBall jackpot claim

The UK’s advertising watchdog has spanked online lottery betting operator Lottoland for misrepresenting the size of its potential US lottery payouts.

On Wednesday, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) upheld a complaint filed against the Lottoland.co.uk website for its July 2017 promotion of a “PowerBall £169 million” jackpot. The complainant felt the ad was misleading due to the jackpot’s value being contingent on whether the prize was paid in a lump-sum or by installments.

Lottoland defended its promo, saying that the options for taking either a lump-sum payment or a 30-year annuity, as well as the difference in ultimate monetary value, were clearly specified in the site’s FAQ and T&C’s.

The ASA acknowledged that the FAQ did indicate that Lottoland replicated the official US lottery payout rules, including the 38% tax provision, the fact that the lump sum represented 60% of the total annuity payout, as well as the rule about splitting the potential payout should the official PowerBall prize be divvied up among multiple winners.

However, the ASA held that consumers were likely to assume from Lottoland’s big-type ad that the value indicated was what they stood to collect if they matched the right PowerBall numbers. As such, Lottoland’s promo was misleading because it quoted a prize value “that would never be paid.” Lottoland was ordered to be more upfront about its payout system in future ads.

The ASA also took exception to a SlottyVegas.com online promo that claimed “our games pay more.” SlottyVegas’ parent company NRR Entertainment claimed the statement was based on its Supercharged Wins feature that added extra funds to each winning round, thereby providing a higher payout than if the feature wasn’t applied.

The ASA wasn’t buying it, saying consumers were led to believe that they’d receive a higher payout from the games on the SlottyVegas site than from games on a rival operator’s site. The ASA found that SlottyVegas had provided no evidence to support this belief, making the promo misleading.

As if to prove that they’re not entirely joyless scolds, the ASA declined to uphold a complaint against a William Hill television spot promoting the company’s Bet Boost odds enhancer. The ad, which appeared in December 2017, featured a smartphone displaying odds for football matches scheduled for six months later. The complainant suggested these odds were misleading.

Hills defended the ad, saying that, while the odds displayed were roughly comparable to what the company were likely to offer on those matches, only a proper tool would presume these odds to be there for anything other than illustrative purposes. And the ASA, in its infinite wisdom, agreed.

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