How gambling advertising is regulated in different European countries | Law&Trust International

 

Gambling is the integral institution of the modern entertainment industry. It represents not only the way of easy and venturous earning for clients of this industry, but also the profitable business for its owners. In this article, we will consider the European legislation in the regulation of gambling advertising

Despite the fact that there are many countries where the gambling business is legalized, it is still subject to severe restrictions from the legislature. Such restrictions are, in particular, related to the advertising of such kind of entertainment.

In our opinion, there are three types of legislative regulation of the gambling advertising in European countries:

1. Permission of the gambling advertising on the country’s territory with some restrictions.

2. Partial ban on the gambling advertising in the country, which contains more stringent legislative requirements and criteria for the persons advertising such services.

3. Total ban on the advertising of gaming activities, games of chance and gambling.

It is important to note: in these countries, the advertising is allowed only for the gambling legalized by local authorities.

Russian Federation and Ukraine

First of all, let us address to the Russian legislation. The Russian Federation set a partial ban on the gambling advertising – the advertising is allowed only on television and radio from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m., as well as in the locations where the gambling is held (Article 27 of the Federal Law On Advertising). In Ukraine, the partial ban on advertising is set – that is, the advertising is permitted only within the framework provided by law.

Scandinavia

Now let us consider the experience of Scandinavian countries, which allow the gambling advertising with some restrictions.

The Norwegian law allows advertising of the gambling, but the country has a standard ban on the advertising aimed at minors. On May 12, 2020, the Parliament adopted amendments to the Broadcasting Act, restricting the advertising of illegal gambling on television or at the request of audiovisual media services. The new law comes into force on January 1, 2021 (Art.11 Lotteries Act; Guidelines of the Gaming Authority).

Similar to Norway, Sweden allows  advertising the gambling industry. At the same time, there is a ban on advertising aimed at minors.

Iceland and Finland set a partial ban on the advertising. In Iceland, it must be exclusively in Icelandic and clearly reflect the commercial interest. The Finnish legislation prohibits advertising during the radio broadcasts, on television, as well as cinematic programs. The ban applies to the advertising aimed at minors. The advertising is banned throughout the country, except for specialized institutions: arcades, casinos and hippodromes.

In Denmark, the advertising of gambling is allowed, but it must not contain any invitation to participate in gambling or to visit any gambling establishment. The advertising message should not contain any promises of improving social status and success.

In general, it can be noted that in Scandinavia, except for some countries, there is a trend of liberal restrictions: the standard bans on advertising aimed at minors remain, the advertising is allowed in specialized institutions.

The Baltic States

The Baltic countries show similar trends in regulation of the gambling advertising. Among three Baltic countries, only Latvia  set a general ban.

The Latvian legislator set a general ban on the advertising outside gambling establishments. The restriction applies to the advertising on the Internet.

Estonia partially bans gambling ads. The advertising should not contain any invitation to participate in gambling or visit gambling establishments. The advertising should not contain guarantees and promises to improve the social status and financial position of the industry clients. The advertising of gambling in Estonia (except for toto, lotteries, sweepstakes, betting and games of skill) is prohibited. However, the legislator sets exceptions to this rule. Thus, the advertising is allowed in the following cases / institutions:

The advertising is allowed in gambling establishments (including those gambling establishments, which are located in hotels);

● The advertising is allowed aboard the cruise liners and airplanes flying on international flights;

● In international airports in Estonia;

● In ports;

● On the websites of gambling operators;

● By subscription from gambling operators via email, mail and phone.

It is important to note: the advertising of toto in Estonia is prohibited in educational buildings, campuses, on the Internet, on posters aimed at children, on television and radio, and on the printed correspondence.

Lithuania, along with Estonia, partially bans advertising. There is a general ban on the gambling advertising in Lithuania, except for advertising the name, trademark and legal form of the gambling company. It is not allowed indicating additional information to the above. The advertising restrictions are not applied to the lotteries, however, it should be noted that the ban on the advertising aimed at minors applies to all games, including the lotteries.

Selected European countries

The advertising of gambling games is partially banned in Belarus. The advertising is banned on TV and radio from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.; in educational institutions, in healthcare, cultural and sports facilities (except for the buildings where betting machines and sweepstakes are located); in mass media, which apply to the minors or in mass media that cover the topics of ecology, education, healthcare; it is prohibited advertising any gambling on children's toys.

The Moldova’s legislator bans the gambling advertising. It is prohibited advertising the casinos, gambling machines and profits from these activities.

Consideration should be given to the European countries with partial bans. Most European legislators allow operators to advertise their activities. However, there is no common denominator for the advertising regulation: each country requires the individual approach when researching. Some countries allow advertising only in certain institutions, at the stated time and in the limited number of ways, while others require permission from the authorities, set requirements for gambling establishments, etc.

In Poland, there is a partial ban on advertising. The restrictions are set for advertising the betting, casinos and gambling establishments. The ban was set on advertising the cylindrical games, card games, dice games and gambling machines.

Likewise, the advertising is partially banned in Germany. The gambling advertising on TV, on the Internet is banned. But the authorities of the Federal Republic of Germany can grant permission to the operators of lotteries, sports and horserace betting to advertise on TV and on the Internet. The advertising of sports betting before or during live TV broadcasts of sporting events is prohibited. The interior of gambling establishments cannot contain any advertisement of the offered games.

The Czech Republic also partially bans advertising. Like the Federal Republic of Germany, the interior of gambling establishments in the Czech Republic cannot contain advertisements of the offered games.

In Slovakia, a partial ban was set. The land-based gambling establishments can advertise themselves and their location only within the radius of 200 meters from the establishment.

The Netherlands observes a partial ban policy. The legislator limited the gambling advertising on television from 06:00 a.m. to 07:00 p.m.

Belgium, like the Netherlands, partially bans advertising. In particular, online gambling advertising is also partially banned. For example, Class A +, B +, and F1 licensees may not advertise the name of any type of game or bonus. Licensees also cannot advertise any promises of payments in case of winning. It is not allowed  exaggerating the chances of winning and offer participation in gambling as the way to solve financial and personal problems. In 2019, the bill  was introduced, amending the Gambling Act, prohibiting online gambling advertising and disqualifying the operators in the event of violations of advertising legislation. This bill is under consideration. In 2020, the bill was presented in the Parliament to exclude possibility of advertising the gambling. According to the bill, only gambling operators will be able to advertise on their own websites.

The United Kingdom observes a liberal approach. The advertising is partially banned. It should not apply to the minors.

In Ireland,  the advertising is partially prohibited. For example, publishing or posting lottery advertisements other than results is subject to disqualification (ban). There is no specialized legislation in Ireland, and the gambling is governed by general regulations of consumer protection and advertising services standards.

South-Eastern Europe and Asia

The legislation of South-Eastern European and Asian countries is quite unpredictable in its regulation. Each country observes the individual policy. In this region, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkey and Armenia should be considered.

For example, the gambling advertising is permitted in Georgia. Only the general regulations on advertising restrictions for minors are in force.

However, the gambling advertising is already prohibited in neighboring Azerbaijan. The advertising of gambling and unregistered lotteries is prohibited.

Turkey set a partial ban. It is prohibited to stimulate the gambling advertising, it is prohibited to set fixed odds, to make joint bets, and it is prohibited to hold gambling based on sporting events.

There is also a partial ban in Armenia. It is prohibited (except for lotteries) to advertise gambling on television, radio and the Internet. The advertising outside the buildings of gambling establishments should not be farther than 5 m from the buildings. Such advertising can only contain its own brand. The lottery advertisements are permitted from 10:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. and from 08:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on radio channels and Internet.

Following South-Eastern European countries, it is worth considering other countries traditionally related to Eastern Europe, as well as Greece and Cyprus.

The Republic of Cyprus partially bans the gambling advertising. Thus, the casino advertisements on radio and TV are prohibited from 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. You are not allowed to run such advertisements during children's programs either. The propaganda is also prohibited for betting: creating advertising messages about improving the social status, solving financial and personal issues with the help of gambling. It is prohibited to attract famous personalities in order to show that they have achieved success thanks to the gambling. It is forbidden to advertise it to minors.

In Greece and Macedonia, Serbia, Hungary, Slovenia, Montenegro, the gambling advertising is permitted. The countries have general bans on advertising to minors. Bosnia and Herzegovina should also be referred to the above countries, where the advertising is also permitted with some exceptions. There is no single legislative regulation of gambling in the country, each subject of the republic has its own regulation. Traditionally, the general restrictions are applied (ban on advertising to minors).

However, for example, Kosovo and Albania banned the gambling advertising. All forms of gambling and games of chance on the territory of Kosovo are in principle prohibited. The advertising in print, electronic or audio-visual media is prohibited in Albania. The newsletters and email updates are allowed in the form of letters from gambling organizers. The audiovisual advertising of sports betting in Albania is prohibited during the broadcast of national and international sporting events.

The gambling advertising is partially banned in Bulgaria. It is allowed to display the name of games, registered trademark, game results, prizes during the advertising of draw games.

Romania also partially bans the gambling advertisements. The betting advertising is allowed during the broadcast of sporting events. The operators are required to display the serial number and license number during advertising.

Croatia sets a partial ban. The licensed entities are entitled to advertise, except for electronic or print media targeted at minors. The advertising of gambling of foreign operators is prohibited.

The analysis of European legislation should be completed in the field of gambling advertising by describing the countries of Western Europe. In the countries listed below, like Eastern Europe, the legislator does not apply methods of strict regulation of advertising.

For example, in Switzerland and France, the gambling advertising is permitted with the only restriction on advertising to minors.

Austria and Spain also allow advertising. It is legally permitted. However, in Austria, the licensed entities are required to comply with a “responsible approach” with respect to their advertising activities. The definition of this term is given by the Austrian Ministry of Finance. And in Spain, in turn, the measures are in place to strengthen consumer protection and responsible gambling practices in the country. For example, the ad display time is limited.

However, this policy is not applied by all Western European countries. Some states have partial bans on advertising.

For example, Portugal set a partial ban. The general restrictions apply (ban on advertising to minors). The private restrictions also apply: commercial advertisements must contain warning messages with explicit indication of "18+", must not be targeted at "vulnerable people"; the advertising of gambling from 07:00 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. on television and radio is banned; the advertisers are required to restrict minors' access to social media that advertise gambling.

Italy, where the advertising of gambling is partially banned, can be classified in the same category of countries. All gambling products and services advertised on TV, on the Internet, on the radio are prohibited. National lotteries are the only exceptions. The ban includes the product placement; distribution of branded gadgets related to the gambling products; organization of the events with prizes containing brand products; publishing advertising; direct and indirect advertising via social media. The exceptions to the ban include the signs of gambling establishments and the website’s domain name; information from legal operators indicating where the gambling services are offered; B2B communications; CSR (corporate social responsibility) and causal marketing without displaying names, trademarks or logos; promotion of trademarks provided in addition to the gambling services, but not relating to them; teleshop of gambling products, which is under the regulator’s supervision and is not broadcast on public television channels.

Conclusion

Thus, the global legislation does not have unambiguous regulation of the gambling. Some countries apply strict regulation methods, leaving the operators and entities unable to advertise their activities at all.

A number of countries prefer a partial ban, which, although it allows advertising the services of gambling, gambling establishments and gambling industry, but at the same time seriously limit the possibilities of such companies. In such countries, it is usually prohibited to use the Internet, television, any other mass media, or their use is allowed, but subject to certain criteria established by the local regulator.

A large number of European countries do not have strict legal regulation, being limited by the general rules of ban on the advertising targeted at minors.

Despite the relatively liberal approach of legislators, there is no unambiguous position on the trends in advertising regulation. For example, in Spain and Belgium, there is the emerging trend towards tighter regulation by regulators. This emphasizes the importance of the competent choice of jurisdiction when researching the countries for creating a gambling company. It is necessary not only to choose such jurisdiction where it will be possible to carry out gambling activities, but also where the advertising of such activities will be available.

 

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