Online gambling boss warned by ad watchdog after third investigation in six years

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A BETTING company boss has been rapped by advertising chiefs for the third time in six years over misleading claims.

Paul Coleman runs online gambling websites, advertising their services on his sites and using email.

But the businessman, who is based in Kettering, Northants, has fallen foul of The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

The ASA ruled this week that Mr Coleman’s promises that syndicate customers faced “no risk” breached the rules.

Mr Coleman has had similar claims ruled out of line by the ASA on two previous occasions.

Toby King, senior media relations officer from the ASA, told Deadline News: “When we find that an ad has broken our rules, our immediate sanction is to ban the ad and prohibit it from appearing again.

“When it comes to repeat offenders, we have a number of sanctions at our disposal, including removing an advertiser’s own paid ads from search engines, prohibiting access to media space or referring the matter to a legal backstop power such as the Gambling Commission.”

He added: “We’re also examining new ways to directly call out repeat offenders who consistently break our rules.”

In the most recent of the three cases, a complaint was received by the ASA by a customer of Mr Coleman who joined a syndicate but lost money.

The customer complained that the website warned customers: “You could be only one paycheck away from financial disaster” before promising a “100% lifetime money-back guarantee” if they joined the “VIP Inner circle”.

The ASA ruled “that marketing communications must not use the word ‘guarantee’ in a way that could cause confusion about a consumer’s rights and that marketers must promptly refund consumers who made valid claims under an advertised money-back guarantee.”

Mr Coleman responded stating that “he had thought that the complainant had received their refund and that he had always promptly refunded clients who had requested refunds.”

However the ASA decided “because the ad contained claims about a money-back guarantee, and in the absence of any evidence to support those claims or show that the complainant had been promptly refunded, the ad breached the Code.”

Mr Coleman’s first run-in with the advertising watchdog took place in 2015, when he violated three codes due to claims made through his website ‘Confidential Publishing’.

On the website, he stated that people could make huge profits through his tailored system but complaints about this were raised to the ASA as there was no proof that those who sign up would make profits.

His second encounter with the ASA occurred in 2020 when he was found to have violated a further six codes through a different website called ‘make life income’.

The website claimed to help people make £50-£100 per day stating that the system would “guarantee you win” and it was a “no risk” system.

The ASA decided that Mr Coleman had breached codes, stating that he “had not provided any evidence to demonstrate that any users of the system had been successful and achieved profits, including the specific amounts quoted in the ad, as a result of using the system.”

Today the ASA warned Mr Coleman he could face stronger sanctions should complaints continue to be received.

 

Mr King said: “When reviewing whether someone is a serial offender, we have to take a lot of different elements into account – the willingness of the advertiser to corporate with us and our ruling, the amount of times they’ve broken the rules in a similar fashion and the level of potential harm for consumers.

“We will be monitoring for future compliance and we won’t hesitate to act if the issue persists.”

A Spokesperson for problem gambling charity GamCare told Deadline News: “We know from people that use our services that the volume of advertising they are exposed to can be problematic for their recovery.

We believe this should change. We also believe that advertising should routinely include more prominent and engaging safer gambling messaging of resources of support.”

Deadline News has approached Mr Coleman for a comment.