Three Lottoland adverts found in breach of advertising rules
The ASA has banned three online Lottoland adverts which have been described as “misleading” by the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority).
A paid-for Bing search ad and two paid-for Google search ads for EU Lotto Ltd t/a Lottoland, www.lottoland.co.uk, seen in May 2022: The complainant, who understood the Lotto games provided an opportunity to bet on the outcome of a lottery rather than participate in the lottery itself, challenged whether the ads were misleading.
EU Lotto Ltd t/a Lottoland said they had previously agreed to make changes to their advertising to ensure ads made reference to bets and betting. However, due to problems with third-party ad templates and settings, the ads published did not contain the clarifications which they had agreed voluntarily.
In relation to ad (a), they said that due to a default setting, the relevant parts of the ad were inadvertently generated by a combination of random (and sometimes unrelated) words from various online sources which were automatically published. They explained that had also resulted in their additional clarifications for bet and betting not being published. They said the specific references to “£209M US Powerball Lotto” and “£56m Megamillions 6for1” had been taken from their own website and used to create an ad. They said Bing had confirmed that the setting had now been deactivated in the UK market.
The ASA noted the use of the term “Lotto” in all of the ads, as well as specific references to “Irish Lottery” and “US Powerball Lotto”. We considered that in that context and in the absence of any qualification, consumers would interpret the term ‘Lotto’ to mean a lottery and that Lottoland provided an opportunity to purchase tickets for and participate in official lottery draws. Consumers were likely to associate lotteries with contributing to charitable causes, and we considered that the claim “Support UK charities here” was likely to reinforce the impression that the service being offered was a lottery.
However, we understood that the ads related to a service whereby consumers could bet on the result of lottery draws. With reference to ads (a) and (b) consumers chose numbers in the same way as an official lottery draw and Lottoland matched the prize of the official lottery, but was not connected to the relevant lottery operator. Whilst ad (c) referred to a Random Number Generated lottery run by EU Lotto, consumers were still not participating in the lottery itself but betting on the outcome of the draw.
The ad must not appear in the form complained of. We told EU Lotto Ltd t/a Lottland to ensure that their ads did not mislead by omitting the fact that their service offered the chance to bet on the outcome of a lottery, and to ensure that references to betting were clear and included prominently in their ads.