Betting company Betfair Australia, which operates as a subsidiary of Crown Resorts Group, faced several complaints for advertising the promise of winning in gambling through an on-demand TV advert.
The advert, called “On Your Side” features a voice-over claiming that the gambling company loved winning punters and was on its customers’ side during the spring racing carnival by providing them with tips, responsible gambling tools and unique ways to bet. The complaint that was submitted to Ad Standards, the country’s advertising watchdog, is linked to the AANA Wagering Code section 2.5, regarding the “Promise of winning”.
The complaint states that the controversial advert talked about Betfair being on punters’ side with odds stacked in customers’ favour. It challenged whether the ad was promoting gambling in a way that failed to point out the risks associated with gambling and also did not highlight the odds against punters winning.
Betfair responded to the accusations, saying that the regulator should dismiss the complaint because the phrase “winning” does not suggest that wagering would 100% result in winning due to the company’s business model.
The business model of Betfair involves the company’s operation as a betting exchange – an online gambling platform that provides its customers with the opportunity to place bets against each other on an event at a certain price they set. This kind of operation resembles a stock market to a certain extent, as customers can either back (buy) or lay (sell) an outcome of a sporting, racing or other event.
Advertising Regulator Dismisses Gambling Advert Complains Due to Company’s Specific Business Model
In their response to the complaint lodged with Ad Standards, a spokesperson for Betfair Australia highlighted that the advertising campaign’s purpose is to make a distinction between Betfair and corporate bookmakers by highlighting some of the company’s specific business model. The company’s spokesperson also shared that Betfair generated revenue via commission charged on the net winnings generated by a customer on a certain betting market, which allows the operator to claim as part of its advertisement that it was on the punters’ side. On the other hand, the advert clearly stated what the outcome would be when a player won (Betfair would also win and earn a commission, and equally if they did not win (Betfair would not earn a commission).
The Ad Standards Panel shared an opinion that some viewers may interpret the ad as the betting operator was truly on the punters’ side and, eventually, dismissed the complaints due to Betfair’s business model. It officially stated that the company’s business model would see Betfair take a commission from winners or the bet of losers, which basically meant there was no real difference in whether punters would win or lose.
According to the advertising regulatory body, the controversial “when you win, we win” phrase was not enough to suggest that betting would always result in winning and noted that Betfair used the word “if” rather than “when” to avoid any impressions that it could guarantee winning to its customers.
As a result of the investigation held by the Ad Standards Panel, the watchdog found that the advert did not state or imply any promises of winning. Eventually, it sided with Betfair Australia, saying that its “On Your Side” advert did not violate Section 2.5 of the AANA Wagering Code.
Olivia Cole has worked as a journalist for several years now. Over the last couple of years she has been engaged in writing about a number of industries and has developed an interest for the gambling market in the UK.