ASA bans "irresponsible" matched betting ad

11 March 2020

The UK’s advertising standards authority (ASA) has upheld a complaint against matched betting service Profit Accumulator for suggesting that matched betting could be a solution to financial problems.

The complaint concerned two posts on Profit Accumulator’s Instagram account. The first showed an image with the text “Colossal Win 2,380.50” and the caption “Absolutely amazing win from one of our members 12 minutes ago,” followed by a series of hashtags.

These hashtags included #makemoney, #makingmoney, #income, #makemoneyfromhome #students and #sahm, which is an abbreviation for stay-at-home mothers.

The second post showed a review of the service that said, “In [one] month I have gone from a person struggling to stay afloat who is worrying about their MOT, bills etc to completely flipping my financial position. Could not have got to this position without match betting and without the guidance of Profit Accumulator”.

The second post also included the hashtags, #workingfromhome #workingfromhomejobs #workingfromhome #earnmoney #earnmoneyonline.

Both ads received a complaint, with the complainant arguing that they suggested matched betting could be a way to achieve financial security.

Profit Accumulator acknowledged that both ads included terms around making extra money but said they “did not suggest that the product was an alternative to full-time employment.” In addition, the business said that the the mentions of making extra money were fair because, provided bettors correctly followed instructions, customers were extremely unlikely to lose money.

The ASA, however, upheld the complaint and ruled that the ads may not appear in their current forms again. It said that, while it understood that Profit Accumulator’s service itself was not gambling as it simply “provided consumers with information on promotional offers,” it was still considered a gambling product.

“Although we acknowledged that some consumers who made use of the service provided by Profit Accumulator would be exposed to gambling services, Profit Accumulator’s service was not itself gambling,” the ASA said. “However, we considered that the purpose of the service was to facilitate gambling and we therefore assessed the ads with that in mind.”

In the first ad, the ASA pointed to the use of the hashtags #sahm and #students, arguing it targeted those on lower incomes.

“We considered that the hashtags combined with the image of a large sum of money implied that Profit Accumulator’s service could be an alternative to employment or a way to achieve financial security,”  the ASA said. “Although matched betting was not itself gambling, because its purpose was to facilitate gambling, we considered that this was irresponsible.”

For the second advertisement, the use of the hashtags #workingfromhome and #workingfromhomejobs were of particular interest to the ASA, who said that customers would see the ad alongside similar terms for employment or work that they could do from home.

In addition, the ASA felt that the text of the review “suggested to consumers that using Profit Accumulator’s service could change a consumer’s financial position and be a solution to financial concerns”.

The ASA added that it issued a warning to Profit Accumulator to avoid suggesting matched betting could be a solution to financial concerns, an alternative to employmnent, or a way to achieve financial security in its ads.