The UK Advertising Standards Association has hauled AG Communications, an online gambling operator trading as Karamba.com, over the coals on two public complaints concerning its publicity material.
The complaints were aimed at material titled “Tips and tricks on how to Win at Starburst,” and “How to Choose a Winning Slot Machine,” which were accused of being misleading by implying that such strategies could increase a punter’s chances of winning, and of being socially irresponsible by encouraging gambling behaviour that could lead to financial, social or emotional harm.
AG Communications expressed regret over the material, claiming that the web pages concerned had been uploaded in error by employees and in contravention of the company internal processes which routinely ensure regulatory compliance.
The company noted that the material attracted low levels of user traffic and had subsequently been removed.
The company reported that it had conducted an internal review of the issue and has re-emphasised the approval processes it had in place for the guidance of staff.
The ASA supported the complaints and ruled that the material must not again appear in its current form.
“We told Karamba.com to ensure their future marketing communications contained nothing that was likely to encourage irresponsible gambling behaviour that could lead to financial, social or emotional harm.
“Additionally, future marketing communications must not misleadingly imply that particular strategies improved a consumer’s chances of winning Starburst when that was not the case, and Karamaba.com must hold adequate substantiation in support of such claims,” the ASA adjudicators observed.