Advert for gambling website is banned by watchdog
Advert for gambling tips website is banned by watchdog after it offered ‘life-long money back guarantee’ and suggested betting could become a job
- The Advertising Standards Agency criticised a betting firm over their promotion
- VIP Inner Circle suggested gambling was an alternative to having a proper job
- The gambling firm had promised punters a ‘life-long money back guarantee’
A gambling tips website has been ordered to remove an ad suggesting betting could be a job.
The Advertising Standards Authority ordered Paul Coleman – trading as VIP Inner Circle – to ensure his ads were socially responsible.
A probe was launched after a member of VIP Inner Circle challenged the company’s ‘life-long money back guarantee’.
The Advertising Standards Authority investigated the www.private-syndicate.co.uk website that offered a private tipster subscription service
The ASA ordered the company to amend its website having promised subscribers a ‘guaranteed income’
The ASA said the complainant had been signed up for four months – but made no profit – and wasn’t refunded, even after asking for their money back.
It also ‘challenged whether the ad was socially irresponsible because it suggested that gambling was an alternative to employment and a way to achieve financial security’.
The page – which has since been amended – appeared on www.private-syndicate.co.uk.
The headline, set against the backdrop of jockeys out racing, said in capital letters: ‘Welcome to VIP Inner Circle.’
It was followed by a link to ‘Join here – enter the world of professional betting…and totally tax-free cash.’
The description continued: ‘Please read my proposal to you because what I am about to tell you is 100 per cent true.
‘I want you to read on with an open mind and only make a decision after you have read the last word.
‘I say this because you must have had so many mailings promising all sorts of get rich quick schemes.
‘You must ask yourself by now – do any of these really work?…I want to help you now because what I have to offer you is 100 per cent genuine and I hope you can clearly see I am not trying to con you in any way. All I want to do is prove that there is a genuine way to make you easy tax-free money’.
The ad also sensationally claimed: ‘You could be only one pay cheque away from financial disaster.’
It added: ‘When your friends and neighbours are struggling in a few weeks’ time, you will be still making money because you will be having a regular income from the VIP Inner Circle Syndicate.’
A further claim said: ‘You will see for yourself how using the VIP Inner Circle Service you can make excellent profits now and in the future or…I will give you your money back Guaranteed for Life’.
Paul Coleman reportedly told the ASA in response to the complaint that he had thought that person had already received their refund and ‘that he had always promptly refunded clients who had requested refunds’.
Mr Coleman also reportedly added he ‘had satisfied clients using his service who had been with him for many years and had no complaints’.
He also agreed to comply with any advice and remove the guarantee from his website, however he failed to ‘provide a substantive response to the ASA’s enquiries on the second point of complaint’.
The website was ordered to remove the advert and ‘not make claims that they offered a money-back guarantee if they were unable to do so’.
They have also been ordered to ‘ensure that their ads were prepared in a socially responsible way and did not suggest that gambling could provide an alternative to employment or a way to achieve financial security’.
A spokesperson for GamGare, a charity that helps with the harms of gambling, said: ‘Gambling is not a way to seek financial security, 70 per cent of callers to our helpline cite financial problems when seeking help and 10 per cent of callers cite debts between £20,000 and £99,999.
‘We run the National Gambling Helpline and provide treatment for those suffering from gambling harm in 161 locations all over Great Britain.
‘We know from people that use our services that the volume of advertising they are exposed to can be problematic for their recovery and that the burden is currently on consumers to block access to gambling ads on each platform they visit if they wish not to be served with these. We believe this should change.
‘We also believe that advertising should routinely include more prominent and engaging safer gambling messaging of resources of support such as our National Gambling Helpline so people can easily access the help and support they might need.’
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