EASA: EGBA code a blueprint for gambling marketing controls

15 May 2020

A gap analysis conducted by the European Advertising Standards Alliance (EASA) claims that the European Gaming and Betting Association’s (EGBA) code of conduct for gambling advertising could significantly enhance marketing regulations in a number of European markets.

The analysis, which was commissioned by EGBA, went as far as saying that the code was stricter and more comprehensive than some country-specific controls.

The code, the first pan-European guidelines for gambling advertising, was developed in the context of the EU EU Audio Visual Media Services Directive and aims to strengthen player protection, in particular the protection of minors.

As such it mandates when adverts can be broadcast, and recommends the use of age-screening and age-gating tools to ensure gambling promotions are not seen by underage social media users and viewers.

The EASA’s gap analysis revealed that 13 of 15 European countries assessed had no gambling-specific regulatory or self-regulatory requirements, with no self-regulatory controls in three. Only 12 had actually developed a framework of voluntary and mandatory controls, it found.

Therefore it concluded that EGBA’s code could be implemented in 9 of 15 countries, should local regulations be amended to include its provisions.

With only six countries having set specific legislative rules for protecting minors from exposure to gambling advertising, these countries could benefit from the code’s implementation, EASA added. The lack of social media regulations was even more pronounced, with no specific requirements set in 13 of the 15 countries assessed.

Furthermore, there were no measures for sponsorship in 11 of the 15, with five countries even failing to mandate responsible gambling messaging. Customer complaints, EASA noted, tended to concern bonuses and the portrayal of gambling, both of which were addressed in the code.

“This initial analysis demonstrates how EGBA’s code can already strengthen responsible advertising measures in a number of European countries,” EGBA secretary general Maarten Haijer commented.

“We’re very pleased that EGBA members are committed to applying the code and demonstrate their commitment to responsible advertising,” he continued. “With its dedicated measures for social media and minor protection, the code will drive industry standards for responsible advertising and help strengthen consumer protection for European citizens.”