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888’s ads banned by the ASA

The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned a number of 888 Holdings advertisements about the online gambling operator’s ‘VIP’ and ‘High Roller’ services.

The regulator upheld a complaint from Rational Entertainment Enterprises, which trades as online poker operator PokerStars, about various claims made in the adverts.

Referring to the 888 VIP membership on 888casino.com, the website banner adverts stated that it was ‘the best VIP program around’, ‘the best VIP promotions anywhere’, ‘our VIP promotions are simply the best!’ and ‘with hospitality second-to-none'. The adverts also claimed 888 High Rollers customers would 'enjoy the best benefits, bonuses, promotions and exclusive event offers anywhere online’.

Rational challenged whether these claims were misleading and could be substantiated.

In response, Cassava Enterprises, operator of the 888casino.com said it used ‘broad language’ in the adverts to convey various opinions about its VIP program and claims about being the ‘best’ would not be taken literally by consumers.

888casino also said that its adverts were similar to those used by other operators, including the complainant, and therefore consumers would understand the use of effusive and hyperbolic language as ‘subjective puffery’.

888casino acknowledged that the claim about its benefits, bonuses, promotions and offers was more specific and could be taken literally, but did argue that the advert did not refer to any specific reasons as to why its offerings were the ‘best’.

Despite the response, the ASA upheld all the complaints put forward by Rational and said that the 888 adverts breached several rules of the CAP Code in terms of misleading advertising, substantiation and other comparisons.

The ASA ruled that the adverts must not appear again in their current form and warned 888casino to exercise caution when making ‘best’ claims in future marketing campaigns.

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