Over the last few months we have seen some quite large fines levied against a number of gambling operators for failures around the social responsibility policies. Gala were fined £2.3 million and 888 a massive £7.8 million. Broadway Gaming (the company responsible for Butlers Bingo and a number of other online bingo sites) appear to have got off quite likely with a fine of £100,000 for their shortcomings.
The Gambling Commission (UKGC) chose to investigate the company after an Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruling that was published back in June 2016. There had been one complaint about an onsite advert that focused on the welcome offer, an offer that was ‘Deposit £10, play with £25’. The complainant felt the ad was misleading because the significant terms around wagering were not clear. The ASA agreed and upheld the complaint.
Gambling Commission Investigates Butlers Bingo
It wasn’t until March 2017 that the Gambling Commission started an investigation with Broadway Gaming and in the public statement from the company, which can be read here, the UKGC were keen to express how transparent the company were when dealing with them.
Butlers Bingo accepted that they had failings and were happy to work with the UKGC in making the required changes to become compliant. Because of this, there was no need for formal regulatory action which could have affected their licence but instead, they were given the fine.
Could Other Brands Face Similar Fines?
When we looked back at the ASA ruling against Butlers Bingo, the advert was found to be in breach of two specific CAP Codes. These were:
All marketing communications or other material referring to promotions must communicate all applicable significant conditions or information where the omission of such conditions or information is likely to mislead. Significant conditions or information may, depending on the circumstances, include:
How to participate, including significant conditions and costs, and other major factors reasonably likely to influence consumers’ decision or understanding about the promotion
We did a little bit of research and found that in the same year, there were two similar complaints about two other bingo brands!
Shortly after the June 2016 ruling against Butlers Bingo, Lucky Pants Bingo had a slap on the wrist from the ASA because they had breached the two CAP codes above AND the one below:
Marketing communications that include a promotion and are significantly limited by time or space must include as much information about significant conditions as practicable and must direct consumers clearly to an easily accessible alternative source where all the significant conditions of the promotion are prominently stated. Participants should be able to retain those conditions or easily access them throughout the promotion.
In November of the same year, Big Bucks Bingo came uner scrutiny by the ASA too. They had breached the same two CAP Codes as Butlers Bingo.
Could we see some more fines levied against other bingo operators too?