The complaint arose over whether a claim of “0% margin” in the two paid-for Facebook advertisements was misleading.
Following its review, the ASA concluded that Marathonbet did not breach CAP code rules 3.1 and 3.3, which target misleading advertising, and 3.9, which focuses on qualification.
The first Marathonbet Facebook advertisement in question, dated 12 August 2020, stated: “We’re offering 0% margin on the Champions League” and offered a link. It also included an animation of a football player holding a trophy, with text stating “0% margin and best prices on the Champions League”, and smaller text below stating: “Margin applies to certain pre-match markets only. Exact margin subject to fluctuation around 0%”.
The second advertisement, dated 11 October 2020, featured text that read: “We’re offering 0% margin on various matches”, “0% margin on various matches” and “Margin applies to certain pre-match markets only. Exact margin subject to fluctuation around 0%”.
A single complainant, who the ASA said “understood that small margins may apply”, challenged whether the ads were misleading.
Marathonbet responded in support of the claims, stating that the “0% margin” claims were not misleading as further text explained that the margin only applied to particular pre-match markets, and the margin would fluctuate around 0%.
To demonstrate the margin fluctuation, Marathonbet supplied time-stamped odds for a Champions League game, on 15 August, that the ASA selected. Bets on the result of the match featured margin fluctuation between 0.0011% and 0.0052%.
The ASA considered that inexperienced bettors may be misled by the claim of 0% margins, to believe that they were going to receive more favourable odds.
However, advice from the Gambling Commission allowed the ASA to rule in favour of Marathonbet. The regulator said that in order to accurately express odds that totaled to a whole number, as would be required for 0% margins, the odds would need to be expressed by three or more decimal points.
The ASA ruled that offering odds to three decimal places could cause further confusion to customers, and that no further action was necessary.
“Because we considered that consumers would not be materially misled by the fluctuating margins, we considered that the claim in ads (a) and (b) ‘Margin applies to certain pre-match markets only. Exact margin subject to fluctuation around 0%’ was sufficient to qualify the headline claim of 0%,” the ASA said in a statement,
“We therefore concluded that the ads were not misleading.”