Lottoland has been fined £150,000 by the United Kingdom Gambling Commission after being found guilty of misleading customers on what exactly they were placing bets on.
The Gaming Commission initiated a probe into the lottery operator’s advertising, marketing and social media practices and determined Lottoland failed to make it clear to its customers that they were placing wagers and not actually buying tickets to participate in the lottery of their choice.
The UKGC’s result means Lottoland must pay £150,000 to a socially responsible cause as part of the settlement and a further £9000 to cover the costs of the Gambling Commission’s investigation.
“Lottoland used ambiguous terminology in their marketing and advertising, which was misleading,” said UKGC enforcement director Richard Watson. On their failure to have honest advertising, Watson concluded it was “not acceptable and the £150k penalty package reflects the seriousness of Lottoland’s failures.”
This isn’t the first time the online lottery operator has landed in hot water.
In Feburary 2017, a complaint was handed in to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) watchdog about whether an advertisement Lottoland aired on television in 2016 mislead UK residents into thinking they were buying tickets to the EuroMillions and implied it was a lottery product rather than an Internet-based gambling service.
Despite Lottoland countering the complaint by pointing out they used to the term ‘bet’ in the ad along with a legal disclaimer to make it clear it was a gambling service, the ASA ruled the ad had breached BCAP Code rules 3.1, 3.2, 3.3 and 3.3.1 (misleading advertising).
“The ad must not appear again in its current form,” the ASA stated. “We told Lottoland to ensure future advertising did not misleadingly imply participants would be entering a lottery.”
A separate complaint lodged with the ASA in February over a different Lottoland ad was ruled as encouraging problem gamblers to hide their addiction from family.