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Compliance Updates

ASA: new standards protecting children from irresponsible gambling ads

George Miller

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ASA: new standards protecting children from irresponsible gambling ads
Photo Source: express.co.uk
Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

The Advertising Standards Authority has published new standards to protect children and young people from irresponsible gambling ads.

This follows a review of the evidence on advertising’s impact on under-18s and rulings by the Advertising Standards Authority. The last review was carried out in 2014.

The evidence suggests that exposure to gambling ads that comply with the UK’s Advertising Codes is, of itself, unlikely to harm under-18s.  Targeted restrictions are still required, however, to address the potential risks associated with irresponsible advertising. While the advertising rules don’t need to change, we have introduced new standards to strengthen how they apply in practice.

 

 

The new standards:

  • prohibit online ads for gambling products being targeted at groups of individuals who are likely to be under 18 based on data about their online interests and browsing behaviour;
  • extensively list unacceptable types of content, including certain types of animated characters, licensed characters from movies or TV and sportspeople and celebrities that are likely to be of particular appeal to children, and references to youth culture; and
  • prohibit the use in gambling ads of sportspersons, celebrities or other characters who are or appear to be under 25; and
  • adds to existing guidance on the responsible targeting of ads, covering all media (including social networks and other online platforms)

In particular, the standards provide examples of scenarios to help advertisers understand what they need to do to target ads away from under-18s. For example:

Social media – gambling operators must use all the tools available to them on a social network platform to prevent targeting their ads at under-18s. This includes both ad targeting facilities provided directly by the platform based, on their platform users’ interests and browsing behaviour, and tools that restrict under-18s’ access to marketers’ own social media content.

Parts of websites for under-18s – gambling operators should take particular care to avoid placing their ads on parts of websites of particular appeal to under-18s. For example, a football club’s website might have a strongly adult audience in general, but it would be inappropriate to place gambling ads in pages dedicated to younger supporters.

Social and online gaming – gambling-like games or games that feature elements of simulated gambling activity are often popular with children and young people. Such games should not be used to promote real-money gambling products. Where social and online games feature marketing communications for gambling games, they should not be directed at under-18s.

Influencers – gambling operators should take particular care when identifying influencers to promote their products or brands. They should take into account the influencer’s likely appeal and obtain audience data (for instance, the age-breakdown of a follower or subscriber-base) to ensure that under-18s are not likely to comprise more than 25% of the audience.

Affiliates – responsibility lies with gambling operators to ensure that affiliates or other third parties acting on their behalf to publish or disseminate ads that comply with the advertising rules.

The new standards will come into force on 1 April 2019.

Director of the Committees of Advertising Practice, Shahriar Coupal, said:

“Playing at the margins of regulatory compliance is a gamble at the best of times, but for gambling advertisers it’s particularly ill-advised, especially when the welfare of children is at stake. Our new standards respond to the latest evidence and lessons from ASA rulings, and require that greater care is taken in the placement and content of gambling ads to ensure they are not inadvertently targeted at under 18s.”

The new regulatory statement should be read in conjunction with:

 

George Miller started his career in content marketing and has started working as an Editor/Content Manager for our company in 2016. George has acquired many experiences when it comes to interviews and newsworthy content becoming Head of Content in 2017. He is responsible for the news being shared on multiple websites that are part of the European Gaming Media Network.

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Compliance Updates

Spelinspektionen issues warning to gambling companies over bonus offer rules

Niji Ng

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Spelinspektionen issues warning to gambling companies over bonus offer rules
Reading Time: 1 minute

 

Spelinspektionen, the gambling regulator of Sweden, has issues a warning all licensed gambling operators and urged them to stick to the newly implemented rules concerning bonus offers.

Sweden opened up its market to international online casino and betting companies on 1 January 2019. The country has licensed about 70 betting and casino operators and are in the process of issuing more licenses. The regulatory body issued the warning following complaints that some license holders have neglected the rules regarding the offering of bonuses and similar incentives to their customers. Under Sweden’s new gambling law, bonuses can only be offered to players/bettors who register with one licensee or another for the very first time.

Spelinspektionen said in its statement that incentives beyond the ones authorised risk attracting customers with problem gambling behaviour. The regulatory body went to say that it monitors carefully the online gambling space and how license holders comply with bonus rules, and that it has initiated a probe into several gambling companies regarding how they handle bonus offering policies.

Companies offering bonuses and similar incentives beyond the ones allowed under current law risk being slapped hefty fines or even having their license revoked, Spelinspektionen warned.

 

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Is it true that Indian government is planning to legalise online gambling?

Niji Ng

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Is it true that Indian government is planning to legalise online gambling?
Image Source: ipleaders.in
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Rumours are abuzz about Indian government’s plans to regulate online gambling in the country. Overall, gambling is prohibited in India, apart from a few jurisdictions. However, there have been recent staccato calls for legalisation of online gambling. In fact, there exists a few companies who make use of the grey area in the legality of online gambling in the country and offer their services in a surrogate manner.

The recent rumours find their origin in a 150-page long report addressed to the government from the Law Commission of India (LCI). In this report, the LCI recommends the legalisation of online gambling in a regulated manner because it observes that the government cannot practically prevent people from accessing online betting sites. The current law has no provision for this.

The LCI also points to the immense potential for tax revenue that the federal government could benefit from, should it choose to regulate online gambling. In recent statements, the Indian government have said that they are looking into the reports from the LCI with maximum interest.

Despite all this, the rumours are unlikely to be true in the immediate future. The current central government is nearing the end of its five-year term. The general elections will be held in May later this year. The government, which is facing a tough battle for a second term, may not risk doing anything unconventional or what can be dubbed as politically incorrect at this juncture.

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Compliance Updates

The Current Absurdity of the Dutch Online Gambling Law

George Miller

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The Current Absurdity of the Dutch Online Gambling Law
Reading Time: 4 minutes

 

The Senate of the Netherlands has been discussing a bill that proposes to regulate online gambling in the country. A vote has been scheduled to take place this week. The bill was passed by the lower house in 2016 and has been languishing for two years because other issues were given priority.

This article seeks to acquaint Dutch online casino players on various aspects of this important topic through the following sections.

  1. The existing laws concerning online gambling
  2. The key points in the proposed bill
  3. The expected steps forward if the bill is passed
  4. Comparison with the online gambling laws in the United Kingdom

Existing Dutch Online Gambling Laws

The key legislation covering gambling in the Netherlands is the Dutch Gambling Act of 1964 commonly referred to as the Wok. Under this Act only one licence for land based casino operations has been issued. This is to the Dutch state-owned Holland Casino. The Act does not cover online gambling at all. There is no provision to issue licenses and none are therefore issued. It is illegal to offer any form of online gambling in the Netherlands as of now.

But the fact is that Dutch players are gambling at hundreds of offshore operators generating revenue of over €800 million from online casino gaming and other online gambling verticals like poker and sports betting. However, it is not illegal for Dutch players to play at these sites. The players themselves will not face prosecution. In the absolute worst case they may lose their deposits if the sites are blocked. If you’re willing to take a risk then you can play at any of our recommended online casinos. They are regulated outside Holland by top notch agencies like the Malta Gaming Authority and the Government of Gibraltar.

The Dutch Remote Gaming Bill

From 2012, the Dutch Gaming Authority, commonly referred to as KSA, had the task of regulating gambling in the country. As a part of its efforts the Remote Gambling Bill for online gambling was prepared. Here it is important to point out that two reasons have been cited for this.

  1. Pressure from the European Union to bring a competitive and regulated online gambling structure in Holland on par with that prevalent in some other countries like the United Kingdom.
  2. The Dutch government sees the massive online gambling turnover as a revenue source that is presently going out of the country. Regulating online gambling will bring taxation and licensing revenue to the national exchequer.

The key points of the Remote Gambling Bill are as follows.

Procedure

  • Interested online gaming operators will have to apply for a license.
  • KSA would scrutinise applications and award a five-year license to deserving operators.
  • Applicants based inside the European Economic Area would be given preference.

Taxation

  • The main revenue would come from a 29% tax on gross gaming revenue.
  • Another 1.5% would be levied to fund the activities of the KSA.
  • 0.5% would be levied to create a Responsible Gambling fund to rehab players inflicted with problem gambling.

Other restrictions

  • Limits have been proposed on marketing sites via non-pay TV channels.
  • There are restrictions on promoting in-play wagers during sports broadcasts.
  • Online gambling operators are to be prohibited from accepting wagers on any sports team with which they have a sponsorship deal.

The Way Forward

If the bill is passed by the Senate then the process of receiving and scrutinising applications can begin. Operators at present serving Dutch players through offshore regulators have expressed intent to become a part of the national regime.

Unfortunately, there is a strong move to exclude the operators presently functioning from overseas locations, also referred to as grey area operators, from the licensing process. If they are not altogether excluded, they are likely to face a cooling off period that may range from two years to five years. This was confirmed by Justice Minister Sander Dekker. This means that the best brands presently operating in Holland will not be given licenses.

  • If they are prevented from operating in the regulated market, Dutch players will be deprived of the best brands.
  • If they continue to operate from offshore locations, then KSA may be unsuccessful in channelizing Dutch players to licensed operators.

In either event, the system as a whole will lose out. There are even whispered rumours that the Dutch government may create a single state owned monopoly to offer online gambling services, as it has done with land based gambling.

Comparisons with the United Kingdom

The United Kingdom implemented a regulated online gambling regime about a decade ago. But it went about the business in a completely different way. It took the offshore operators then functioning in Britain on board. The United Kingdom Gambling Commission insisted that will have to apply for fresh licenses but was sensitive to the concerns these operators faced and tried to find mutually acceptable solutions in an amicable manner.

Today the United Kingdom Gambling Commission is regarded as one of the strictest regulators. It has imposed strict practices to be followed for prevention of underage gambling and problem gambling. Advertisements deemed unsuitable are immediately acted upon. Bonus and promotion offers that do not meet its standards of fairness and transparency have to be retracted. Hefty punishments are imposed on defaulters.

This has created a win-win situation for everybody.

  • The British players are getting products from the best online gaming operators in a favourable environment.
  • The online gaming operators are benefitting from players moving to them from sites that are not licensed in Britain.
  • The British government is getting additional tax revenues in the exchequer.

When one compares the Dutch and British scenarios it is evident that the Dutch absurdities are not likely to really succeed unless corrections are made before the legislation is passed.

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