images-11Facebook ads offering ‘risk-free’ bets on Manchester, Liverpool and Sunderland games have been shown the red card by advertising watchdogs.

The Advertising Standards Authority received three complaints about the ads which offered users of the social media site a bet for £20 on key matches including City versus Liverpool and Sunderland versus United and claimed the bets were ‘risk-free’.

However, it transpired that people losing the bet would need to bet again if they were to recover their stake.

The company which placed the sponsored post, Unibet, said the wording of the offer was ‘commonly used’ in the gambling industry.

“Unibet explained that it was not the case that six unique bets were required to be placed as part of the turnover, but rather the subsequent bet placed in and with the turnover must be six times in value of the refunded stake.”

The ASA upheld all the complaints against Unibet saying:

“We noted that consumers were required to place the first bet with their own money after the registration for a new account as the first condition of the offer and their winnings could be withdrawn in cash if they had won the first bet. Although consumers would not be required to wager further money of their own during the turnover process if they had lost the first bet, they would be required to use the returned bonus to place further bets in order to qualify for the withdrawal of the stake refunded as cash.”

The ruled that the ads must not appear again in their current form and told Unibet (International) Ltd to ensure that they did not use the claim “risk free bet” to describe this bonus offer in future ads and that future ads made clear all material information and significant conditions of the offer, such as the requirement to place further bets at specified odds.

Read the ruling in full here.