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Promotional strategies of gambling operators: what points of vigilance has the ANJ identified?

George Miller

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ANJ publishes its 2021/2023 strategic plan
Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

Meeting in plenary session on January 21, the members of the National Gaming Authority (ANJ) examined the 2021 promotional strategies of gambling operators, both in competition and monopoly, with particular regard to the objectives of prevention of excessive or pathological gambling and protection of minors. In view of the points of vigilance that were identified during this review, such as increased advertising pressure and the targeting of young audiences, the approval of these strategies is in most cases subject to conditions in their implementation.

 

Reminder of the legal framework

Since the reform of gambling regulation in 2020, all operators must submit their promotional strategies to the National Gaming Authority for approval each year. The latter examines it in the light of the objectives of the State’s policy on gambling and chance, and more specifically, the prevention of excessive or pathological gambling and the protection of minors.

This first exercise of approval of promotional strategies should allow the ANJ to progressively build its analytical grid to maintain a recreational game and for operators to become familiar with these new provisions. It is also on the basis of this analysis grid that the ANJ will be able, if necessary, to mobilize its power to withdraw from a particular advertising campaign that encourages gambling by minors or that contains excessive encouragement to gamble.

The ANJ’s analytical grid takes into account the balance to be struck between the legitimate use of advertising by operators to promote the legal offer and differentiate themselves in a highly regulated market, and its necessary channelling to counter the risk of problem gambling and protect minors. It will be regularly updated in the light of the observations or developments observed by the ANJ and the work carried out with the CSA and the ARPP, in the framework of the implementation of an observatory on gambling advertising.

It is in line with the reference framework for the prevention of excessive and pathological gambling and the protection of minors published in December 2020, which proposes an operational manual for operators in the implementation of their new obligations.

Points of vigilance common to operators for the 2021 strategies

The ANJ conducted a comparative analysis of the promotional strategies of the 14 licensed operators and the 2 operators under exclusive rights (FDJ and PMU). This analysis revealed points of vigilance, common to all these operators, which justify attaching conditions to approval decisions:

  1. A substantial increase in advertising budgets of 26% compared to 2019*, with large-scale campaigns around major sporting events planned for this year (notably the Euro Football Championship and the Tokyo Olympic Games);
  2. A reinforced targeting of young people with the use of digital marketing strategies on the social networks Snapchat and TikTok particularly followed by minors;
  3. Active stimulation of the player with the effect of intensifying gambling practices and the recruitment of new players (bonuses, personalization of the offer).

The particular case of monopoly operators (FDJ and PMU)

An examination of the promotional strategies of these two operators under exclusive rights shows that the Authority has serious concerns about them, particularly in light of the case law of the CJEU and the Conseil d’Etat, which reminds us that the monopolies’ advertising efforts must remain measured and strictly limited to what is necessary to channel consumers towards controlled gambling networks. Moreover, in connection with this jurisprudence, the ANJ will be vigilant to ensure that any advertising or promotional campaign by these operators does not hide behind arguments of general interest to give a positive image of gambling or to justify it.

The ANJ will be very attentive to ensure that the points of vigilance it has identified are the object of particular attention on the part of operators with regard to their obligations in terms of prevention of excessive gambling and protection of minors.

 

*Since the 2020 budgets are not significant, 2019 will be the last fiscal year carried out under normal market conditions.

Central Europe

GIANTS SOFTWARE AND SPORTFIVE AGREE PURPOSEFUL MARKETING PARTNERSHIP FOR GAMING BRAND FARMING SIMULATOR

George Miller

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GIANTS SOFTWARE AND SPORTFIVE AGREE PURPOSEFUL MARKETING PARTNERSHIP FOR GAMING BRAND FARMING SIMULATOR
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Publisher and global sports business agency hereby focus on Esports and authentic in-game brand integrations

GIANTS Software and SPORTFIVE today announce a purposeful marketing partnership, which focuses on the gaming brand Farming Simulator and aims to enhance the related Esports universe and the authenticity of the game environment via the realistic in-game integration of brands.

In trusting the Esports know-how and commercial experience of SPORTFIVE, GIANTS Software further accelerates the marketing activities for its competitive Esports series Farming Simulator League. The global sports business agency SPORTFIVE hereby adds a truly valuable element to its portfolio that highlights the immense potential in regard to in-game advertising possibilities. These integrations offer an authentic way for a variety of brands to get involved with Esports, especially for rather traditional brands that have never had contact with the Esports cosmos before. At the same time, this provides unique access to a new, large and additional target group within the Esports landscape.

The video games series Farming Simulator is the most popular gaming title from developer and publisher GIANTS Software. The game series is a global phenomenon and available on all popular platforms including consoles, mobile phones, tablets and PCs. Since 2008, over 25 million versions of Farming Simulator have been sold worldwide on PC and console alone.

SPORTFIVE now is supporting GIANTS Software in the acquisition of new partners in selected areas. The Farming Simulator world offers an attractive variety of authentic integration possibilities for brands: From becoming a partner of the professional Esports series Farming Simulator League, over in-game advertising via geo-targeted billboards to usable in-game content, i.e. stores, working equipment or vehicles.

Boris Stefan, Head of Publishing at GIANTS Software, explains: “We’re delighted to reach this agreement with such an experienced marketer. It will become the origin of further immersion into our vast maps. I already envision many larger additions and even tiny details, and all together will bring our family-friendly world to life and will add authenticity to the overall simulation experience.”

Thomas Ottl, Executive Director Global Esports at SPORTFIVE, adds: “We are truly excited for this partnership, which is strongly designed to enhance the gaming experience for the family-friendly and international fan base of Farming simulator. The innovative in-game integrations are an authentic way for brands to get in touch with a diverse and large target group and with these integrations, the game will be even more like reality. We cannot wait to get to work!”

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Asia

Hokkaido Excludes IR from 2021 Budget

Niji Narayan

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Hokkaido Excludes IR from 2021 Budget
Reading Time: < 1 minute

 

Hokkaido has announced its initial budget for 2021 on February 19, with a 15.4% (JPY432.9 billion) increase over last year to JPY3.25 trillion (US$30.9 billion). This is the third-largest initial budget ever for the prefecture, which will now be proposed at the Hokkaido Prefectural Assembly regular session on February 25.

However, the fund for IR development was a notable absentee following a recent comment by Governor Naomichi Suzuki that an IR was not in the immediate future for Hokkaido.

Funds being set aside in prefectural budgets have traditionally been considered by experts as a strong indicator of a prefecture’s intentions regarding IRs. The fact that no funds have been set aside for IR development in Hokkaido’s 2021 budget appears to signal the death knell for any remaining glimmers of hope that Hokkaido could somehow jump back into Japan’s IR race.

At a press conference, Suzuki positioned the new fiscal year’s budget as “a budget that protects lives, livelihoods and creates a path for the future.” It is hoped this will help the prefecture navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and build a society resistant to infectious disease while also promoting Hokkaido’s future in a post-pandemic world.

Revenue has declined in the economic downturn and the prefecture’s financial situation is strained. Governor Suzuki commented, “We will firmly defend ourselves while at the same time starting on proactive policy. Balancing defense and offense has been difficult but we will accept the challenge to build a future for Hokkaido while controlling the pandemic.”

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Asia

Japanese Politician Raises Concerns Over China Blacklist on Overseas Casino Tourism Destinations

Niji Narayan

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Japanese Politician Raises Concerns Over China Blacklist on Overseas Casino Tourism Destinations
Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

The Japanese government has refrained from commenting following a question from House of Representatives member Kenji Eda regarding concerns that Japan’s first integrated resort developments could see the nation added to a blacklist being compiled by Chinese authorities on foreign casino destinations.

The blacklist, originally revealed by China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism last August and expanded earlier this month, is said to comprise overseas tourist destinations that are “disrupting” China’s outbound tourism market by opening casinos targeting mainland Chinese customers. The blacklist system would see travel restrictions imposed on Chinese citizens going to overseas cities and scenic spots named on the blacklist.

Eda revealed via his personal blog that he had submitted a question regarding the blacklist and its potential impact on Japan’s IRs, stating, “In August 2020, China announced that it would create a blacklist system to restrict travel to foreign cities that had a casino, with the allegation that overseas casinos threatened the property and safety of their citizens. With that in mind, we can understand that there are concerns that overseas casinos are a hotbed of crime, particularly corruption and graft. I request an answer if the government is aware of this system.

“Further, this, adding to the impact of the coronavirus, could have a major impact on IR (casino) operation in East Asia, which relies heavily on wealthy Chinese visitors. In the past, The Chinese government has restricted travel to South Korea because of deployment of the US military’s ground-based missile interception system, and there is a risk they could use this system politically.

“Considering this system, even if we build casinos (IR) in Japan, we cannot have expectations that foreigners, and especially Chinese tourists, will be able to visit.”

In response, the government said, “We are aware that the Chinese government has announced the establishment of a system as you described in August 2020, but the specific details are yet to be announced so we will refrain from comment.”

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