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An operator who did not make it clear to consumers that they were betting on the outcome of a lottery draw and not actually taking part in a lottery is to pay £150,000 to socially responsible causes.

Lotteries are different from other gambling products as a portion of proceeds must go to good causes. The Gambling Commission and the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) therefore consider it important that consumers are made aware of the type of gambling they are participating in.

On 1 February 2017 the ASA upheld a complaint about a radio advertisement broadcast on behalf of Lottoland – the complainant challenged whether the advertisement misleadingly implied that Lottoland were offering the opportunity to take part in a lottery as opposed to offering bets on the outcome of that lottery.

The Commission’s investigation found that Lottoland also failed to make it clear in its third party marketing, website and social media promotions that consumers were betting and not participating in a lottery.

Richard Watson, Gambling Commission Programme Director for Enforcement and Intelligence, said: “In this case the operator used ambiguous terminology in their marketing and advertising, which was misleading. That is not acceptable and the £150,000 penalty package reflects the seriousness of Lottoland’s failures.

“We expect all operators will learn the lessons from this case and take action to ensure that their consumers are clear about what they are being offered.”

All gambling marketing and advertising should comply with requirements set out in the Licence conditions and codes of practice, the UK Advertising Codes and the Guidance on the rules for gambling advertisements. Lottoland will pay £150,000 to a socially responsible cause, pay Commission investigation costs, and agree to a public statement outlining its failings for industry wider learning. 

Notes to editors 

  1. More information about how we regulate the gambling industry.
  2. Read the Commission’s Statement of principles for licensing and regulation.
  3. Useful statistics on the gambling industry
  4. Affiliate marketing is a type of commission-based marketing in which a business rewards an affiliate for each visitor or customer brought by the affiliate's own marketing efforts.

Journalists can contact our press office on 0121 230 6700 or email: communications@gamblingcommission.gov.uk

Posted on 27 June 2017