The UK Gambling Commission recently issued their first fine for advertising missteps against BGO Entertainment £300,000. The fines were levied for nine misleading ads that were found on BGO’s website. They were accessible between July 2015 and 2016. They were also published on several affiliate websites during 2016.
Starting in May 2015, the License Conditions and Codes required licensed gambling sites to avoid misleading consumers with their promotional advertising. Companies must explain what a ‘free bet’ and ‘bonus’ are, and how the person must qualify for these items.
Casino companies were asked to meet these new requirements in June 2015. BGO did not comply with the request. They did not explain the requirements of their promotions, so they were determined to be potentially misleading.
BGO hired their own auditors in May 2016 to analyze their website. The company suggested several recommendations, but the company did not change their practices. Later in July of 2016, BGO made the recommended changes to their site. However, they did not change the advertising done by their affiliates. They claimed in July that they were taking corrective action, yet in October nothing had changed.
A director at the Gambling Commission found that BGO did not respond to request for changes to their advertisement in a timely manner. They also provided assurances that the issues were being addressed, when they obviously were not. BGO now has a record of not following regulations so the next time they are caught crossing the line, their penalties will be even stiffer.
The director wants other companies to take note that this type of behavior will not be tolerated. BGO Group owns BGO Entertainment. They have been in business since 2012. The Advertising Standards Authority has impressed upon BGO that its campaigns cannot suggest that gambling is a way to secure a person’s financial future.
The UK Gaming Commission makes it improper for social media sites or affiliate marketing to mislead by what they say or by what they omit from their advertising. Game site operators are responsible for their affiliates as well as what appears on their own sites.