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Compliance Updates

ASA dismisses complaints over Betfair TV ad

Niji Narayan

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ASA dismisses complaints over Betfair TV ad
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The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has ruled that the TV ad for Betfair had not breached the advertising code and that no further action is necessary.

The ad in question showed a young man checking his mobile phone while walking down the pavement and going through what appeared to be a “secret” door leading to a room with a large screen that showed horse racing.

A voice-over stated: “My gut says that horse is something special and my smarts say to back it on the Betfair Exchange where I get bigger returns than if I bet with one of these other bookies. That’s why I go to Betfair. Betfair, where gut instinct meets smarts.”

Complaints were submitted, challenging the idea that depicting the betting experience in this manner “exploits the susceptibilities of young men”, however, the regulatory body ruled that there was no breach of advertising rules.

Betfair, responding to the complaints, explained that its advert sought to show customers that the operator could offer better value for money in comparison to other bookmakers. The protagonist was not shown to be placing any bets, thus not suggesting that gambling had any holding over the man’s life. Also, the advertisement did not, in any way, exploit any susceptibilities of under-18s, but rather was attempting to educate its customers about the range of odds available.

Considering the response to the complaints from the operator, the ASA ruled that while they considered the character to be deemed aspirational—in reference to his “smarts”—the decision to place a bet using the Betfair Exchange was deemed to be depicted responsibly.

Compliance Updates

Norway’s Stortinget Passes Gambling Advertising Amendment

Niji Narayan

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Norway’s Stortinget Passes Gambling Advertising Amendment
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The Norwegian Parliament (Stortinget) has approved a legislative amendment aimed at preventing offshore gambling operators from advertising their services to consumers in the country via the internet.

The amendment grants the Norwegian Media Authority (Medietilsynet) the power to order internet service providers and media companies to prevent access to illegal marketing.

“This [amendment] will reduce the scope of gambling advertising, and may in turn help reduce the number of problem gamblers,” Abid Q. Raja, Minister of Culture and Gender Equality, said.

“[Previously] we have not had the necessary tools to enforce the advertising ban on foreign operators. But with this provision, the Media Authority is empowered to impose a duty on internet owners and distributors to prevent access to advertising for illegal gambling,” Raja added.

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Compliance Updates

Sweden’s Spelinspektionen Submits Match-fixing Regulations for EC Approval

Niji Narayan

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Sweden’s Spelinspektionen Submits Match-fixing Regulations for EC Approval
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Swedish gambling regulator Spelinspektionen has submitted new rules on match fixing to the country’s National Board of Trade, for the board to notify the European Commission of the changes, and has conducted an impact assessment of the rules.

The new rules would limit betting to the top four divisions of football. Also, betting on Swedish Cup would be limited to matches featuring teams from the top four tiers. Markets for matches involving foreign clubs would only be permitted when each participating team is from the top four tiers of each country’s footballing pyramid. Operators would only be able to take bets on international matches from under-21 level upwards.

Last month, when it announced the plans to ban betting on lower-league matches, Spelinspektionen also proposed banning betting on training matches or friendlies entirely, but opted to continue to allow international friendlies.

In addition, betting must not be offered in the event of a rule violation such as a yellow card or penalty in football, while betting must not be offered on individual performance of anyone under 18 years of age.

Also, licensees will be required to produce annual reports on potential match-fixing activity.

The new rules on match fixing can only take effect after the EU Commission has given its opinion, which takes just over three months. Spelinspektionen said the rules could come into effect no earlier than the end of 2020.

“Match fixing is considered as one of the biggest threats to sports today and as a result of this as well against betting and the companies that provide betting. There are, as far as can be judged, great risks in offering bets on games at low divisions in football,” Spelinspektionen said.

“Monitoring from both sports federations and the media is lower and the athletes do not make money and are thus more vulnerable. There is also a risk of athletes or whole associations coming in contact with match fixing at lower levels and then taking the problem up through the pyramid with any sporting success,” it added.

Spelinspektionen also said it was aware of the risk that the restrictions could apply in encouraging more players to play on unlicensed sites.

“The unlicensed gaming market is never further away than a click on your computer or phone,” it said.

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Australia

Australia’s ACMA Moves to Block 10 More Illegal Gambling Websites

Niji Narayan

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Australia’s ACMA Moves to Block 10 More Illegal Gambling Websites
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The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is set to request Australian internet service providers (ISPs) to block 10 more illegal offshore gambling websites.

The sites to be blocked are Grand Fortune Casino, Raging Bull Casino, True Blue Casino, Free Spin, Two Up Casino, BoVegas, Cherry Gold Casino, Slots Empire, Red Dog Casino and Wild Joker.

ACMA received over 30 complaints about these services that are accessible in Australia. ACMA’s investigations found that these sites breach the Interactive Gambling Act 2001.

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