On 4 July 2018, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) upheld a complaint against EU Lotto Ltd (Lottoland) on the basis that an advert on the gambling operator’s website was misleading in breach of rules 3.1 and 3.3 of the CAP Code.
The advert stated "PowerBall £169 million". The complainant challenged whether the advertised jackpot was actually subject to change depending on how it was paid out (for example, in a single lump sum or in instalments), and therefore misleading.
In response, Lottoland explained that elsewhere on its website the jackpot amount and the possible pay out options were adequately explained. The Help and FAQ links explained the jackpot could be paid as an annuity over 30 years or alternatively in a single lump sum, in which case the jackpot was paid out at 60% of the total value of the annuity amount. The ASA also understood that that the jackpot figure would always be reduced by 38% to allow for the tax that winners in the official lottery would have to pay, and – if there was more than one jackpot winner - the pre-tax value quoted in the ad would be split as if it had been shared in the way the official prize would be shared.
The ASA’s ruling
The ASA considered consumers were likely to understand the jackpot total quoted in the ad – "Power Ball £169 million" – to be the prize that Lottoland would pay out if the consumer chose the correct winning numbers in the next draw, and that this would be paid out in a single sum. The regulator held that it was not sufficient to state separately from the ad (via the Help and FAQ links) that the jackpot value would be reduced to take account of the tax that would be paid on the official lottery prize, and that it would be shared in the event of multiple jackpot winners.
Whilst the ASA welcomed EU Lotto's willingness to make changes to clarify how pay-outs functioned, they found that - as the ad had quoted a jackpot total that would never be paid – the advert was misleading.
A link to the full ruling can be found here.