UK's Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned an online advertisement from operator Aspire Global's casino site Karamba, after a punter complained that it was socially irresponsible and misleading.
Karamba had an ad for the NetEnt slot Starburst and had the copy 'Tips and tricks on how to win at Starburst' as well as a set out that read 'Starburst Strategy'. After the punter submitted the ad to the ASA, it was found that the ad was indeed in violation of UK law. The group ruled that the ad cannot appear again in its current form.
The website Karamba, seen on 3 May 2018, featured a web page relating to the online slot game Starburst™. Under the title "Tips and tricks on how to Win at Starburst™" text stated "So, how can you REALLY play this high payout slot to your advantage and maximize your wins time and time again? Can you influence your luck when playing? Read on to discover the top tips and tricks for winning at Starburst™ video slot …". Under the title "The Starburst™ Strategy", the web page stated that "the top 5 tips for winning" included "Wins at the minimum bet rate are much less frequent and pay out significantly smaller sums", "Don't panic! Tests have also proven that it is possible to change your luck if you find things aren't going your way", "Try changing the cycle of the game to get back on the winning track by toggling between the Spin and Max Bet buttons. The bet rate will stay the same, but you may trigger more bonus features and, most importantly, wins" and "Playing at off-peak times could earn you higher winnings! Research has shown that wins are highly affected by the number of people playing at a specific time. Beat the crowds and you could score yourself some extra cash!". The text also included a link to a different web page titled "How to Choose a Winning Slot Machine" with further tips on increasing the chances of winning slot games.
For their part Karamba admitted their fault. They said that the ad wasn't supposed to be aired, as they perform audits internally to guarantee compliance with local jurisdictions. The company has noted that they're taking a full internal review to make sure the issue doesn't happen again.
In a statement Karamba said, "Karamba is a brand that operates under six different regulations with a strong focus on complying with the different regulatory guidelines and standards."
"We were dismayed to learn that these ads were uploaded due to human error, insomuch that they did not go through our internal procedure for approval of marketing materials.
"Following this issue, of which there will not be a reoccurrence, we have tightened our procedures as well as undertaken additional measures to ensure all new marketing materials are fully compliant with the regulatory standards."
A single complainant challenged the advert for being "socially irresponsible" as it "misleadingly implied" that certain strategies could lead to profit gain.
The complainant also said such strategies "encouraged gambling behaviour that could lead to financial, social or emotional harm".