EGBA establishes a code of responsible online gambling advertising

The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) has published the first-ever pan-European code of conduct relating to responsible online gambling advertising.

The Code of Conduct on Responsible Advertising for Online Gambling, issued on Tuesday, outlines a broad range of essential standards in relation to advertising content. Covering both traditional and social media ads, it holds the protection of minors as one of the main areas of focus. The aim of the code is to increase support for the self-regulatory framework that is already in place for advertising online gambling services in Europe.

The new standards were developed in the context of the EU Audio Visual Media Services Directive. The directive underlines the importance of co-regulation and self-regulation in the protection of minors from exposure to gambling advertising.

One of the key areas of focus in the new standards is the moderation of content. This encompasses guidelines on how gambling advertising should appear and what is to be avoided. Specifically, the code calls for gambling advertising to cease during broadcasts aimed at minors. It outlines how age-screening tools can protect minors on social media platforms. Age-gating on gambling brands’ social media profiles is another, new way of restricting access for minors. An additional measure is in place that will not allow gambling companies to sponsor any activities that predominantly appeal to minors. Standards relating to responsible gambling campaigns and messages are also included.

All members of the EGBA will fall under this code, with those licensed in the UK, EU, and EEA now able to submit their signatures. The association plans to use an independent third party to ensure that its members comply with the standards set out. A third party will also be assessing the impact of the code on existing national regulations. A report will be published in May in this regard.

While the code outlines long-term standards for online gambling advertising, the EGBA has also been working on more short-term measures amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. It has called on operators to make no mention of COVID-19 in their ads. No advertising can portray gambling as an answer to financial or social problems or as a way to relieve boredom.

It also underlined the other important standards that online gambling companies need to maintain in the current climate. These include monitoring problem gambling behavior, conducting robust Know Your Customer (KYC) checks, and enacting proper responsible gambling tools and messages.

What is the EGBA?
The EGBA is a Brussels-based trade association that represents the biggest online gambling operators that are licensed in the EU. Members include William Hill, Kindred Group, GVC Holdings, and Bet365. Its total membership base serves over 16.5 million customers across Europe. Many of EGBA’s members in the UK have already committed to putting a stop to gambling adverts on radio and television. The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has said that its members’ revenues are down 30% since the start of the nationwide lockdown. A large number of these operators have had to issue profit warnings and cut dividends as a result.

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