UK advertisements watchdog has banned seven cryptocurrency ads by categorising them as “red-alert priority”. The banned ads include ones by Coinbase and Papa Johns.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said its rulings follow proactive monitoring of cryptoasset ads, and form part of a wider project that will eventually shape specific guidance around advertising these products in 2022.
It added that consumers need to know about the risks of investing in cryptoassets and companies should make sure that their ads aren’t misleading or socially irresponsible, and don’t take advantage of consumers’ lack of awareness around these “complex and volatile products”.
A Twitter bio for a cryptocurrency trading platform Coinburp, cryptocurrency promotion by Papa John’s and a digital poster for online cryptocurrency exchange Payward were all banned, mainly for “irresponsibly taking advantage of consumers’ inexperience.”
The Coinburp ad also failed to illustrate the risk of the investment, ASA said.
A YouTube video promoting Exmo Exchange, an in-app ad for Luno Money, a paid-for Facebook ad for Coinbase Europe, along with an ad for eToro were also among the offenders.
“We’ll continue to review cryptoasset ads over the next few months, not just for cryptocurrencies but also for nonfunglible tokens and fan tokens, and this will feed into our future enforcement work and guidance,” the authority said.
“Cryptoassets are a red-alert priority issue for us, so we’re conducting proactive monitoring and interventions where we find issues,” said Miles Lockwood, director of complaints and investigations.
“Our rulings published today and over the next few weeks will shape follow-up enforcement work in the new year to bring all cryptoassets ads into line with our expectations and will form the basis of updated guidance.”
“We won’t hesitate to take action against ads that break our rules. We encourage anyone with any concerns about ads they’ve seen to get in touch.”
Elizabeth Rayment, director at Your Mind Media, said the ban of the crypto-related ads by the UK watchdog “comes as regulators move to set up rules around the crypto industry in general, be it trading or advertising to protect retail users”.
“While cryptocurrencies have gained significant popularity recently they are still unknown to many consumers. The understanding of cryptocurrencies, their financial impact and the risk they involve remains limited among the general public and as such, advertising to them can be seen as concerning.”
IBAS Unveils New Plans to Become the First Gambling Ombudsman
The Independent Betting Adjudication Service (IBAS) has unveiled plans to become the new Gambling Ombudsman.
IBAS believes the long-awaited UK Government White Paper will call for the creation of a new Ombudsman, once released. IBAS claims it is the perfect candidate for the role, aiming to protect consumers from gambling harm while raising industry standards across the board.
The body already offers an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) service – as opposed to the Gambling Commission, which is the official route for resolving issues.
Per its bid to become the UK’s first Gambling Ombudsman, IBAS has outlined its aims and goals should it assume the position.
IBAS has called for its Ombudsman governance framework setting to be produced outside its remit; new and compulsory funding from the industry to ensure impartiality remains central to all gambling disputes; and a Fair Play Code – outlining the criteria for deciding complaints, including fairness terms & conditions for harmful gambling complaints.
“IBAS’s experience, expertise and commitment to independent decisions are unparalleled – having resolved over 85,000 gambling disputes. I welcome the creation of a new Ombudsman, but for this to work it needs to be run by an organisation that understands the sector and has a track record of helping and protecting consumers. An Ombudsman with additional resources, built on the foundations of IBAS is best placed to hit the ground running, protecting consumers, and raising industry standards through fair, consistent decision making and constructive dispute avoidance feedback,” Richard Hayler, Managing Director of IBAS, said.
“It’s an exciting time for the gambling industry. There is a real opportunity to enhance the service offered to gambling customers through a new Ombudsman. IBAS has been committed to providing an accessible, fair, and independent service to all gambling consumers. Our plan for a Gambling Ombudsman would make sure consumers are protected and avoid the backlog of complaints. On top of this, this plan provides a solution that works for Government, the Regulator, and the industry,” Andrew Fraser, Chairman of IBAS, said.
Lithuanian Regulator Issues Fines to Gaming Strategy Group and Tete-a-Tete Casino
Lithuania’s Gambling Supervisory Authority has issued fines to Gaming Strategy Group, the operator of Betsson-owned Betsafe in the country, and Tete-a-Tete Casino.
Gaming Strategy Group was fined €25,000 for breaching rules regarding advertising after it distributed a newsletter to 10,430 customers about an online game.
Sent in February this year, the newsletter included information about the game and its features, as well as the option for players to click on links to log in to their account or to request a new password if they had forgotten their login details.
Last year, the Lithuanian government introduced a ban on range of gambling advertising, including promotional bonuses. The law on gambling prohibits the promotion of gambling through activities such as special events, test games, promotions, discounts, gifts and other incentives.
In its ruling, the Gambling Supervisory Authority said that as the newsletter’s intention was to draw attention to a gambling service and specific details about the game, including its win percentage and free spins features, this was in breach of Article 10 (19) of Lithuania’s gambling regulations (ALI).
In the case of Tete-a-Tete Casino, the Gambling Supervisory Authority issued the operator a fine of €15,000 for allowing players located outside Lithuania to gamble through its website remotely.
The regulator said this breached Article 205, Part 3, Article 201, Part 1 of the ALI as gambling with an operator licensed in Lithuania while not physically located in the country is illegal on the part of the gambling operator.
Tete-a-Tete Casino was also warned that its licence could be suspended if it does not put in place the relevant processes to halt such activity in the future. The operator has until 10 August to comply with the request.
The Gambling Supervisory Authority noted that neither decision was final, and both of the operators can appeal the rulings.
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