EGBA unveils first pan-European igaming advertising code

28 April 2020

The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) has published the first pan-European code of conduct for responsible advertising for online gambling, with a particular focus on the protection of minors.

The ‘Code of Conduct on Responsible Advertising for Online Gambling’ pledges to both complement and strengthen existing legal and self-regulatory frameworks for online gambling advertising in place across Europe.

Developed in the context of the EU Audio Visual Media Services Directive, which emphasises the role of self- and co-regulation in protecting minors from exposure to gambling advertising, the new code features a range of specific measures.

These include a section on content moderation and how gambling advertising should look, as well as a focus on minor protection, whereby adverts should not be shown during broadcasts dedicated to minors, while also setting out details regarding age screening tools on social media to protect minors.

The code also covers first-of-their-kind measures for social media marketing, in terms of age-gating on the social media profiles of gambling brands to ensure minors do not have access.

Other measures include sponsorship arrangements, whereby operators agree not to sponsor any activities that have a predominant appeal to minors, as well as a section on responsible gambling messaging and campaigns.

The new code will apply to all EGBA members and is open for signature by online gambling companies licensed in the European Union, European Economic Area and the UK, as well as other gambling associations and representation bodies of the media sector.

The EGBA also said it is its intention to ensure that compliance with the code is monitored and enforced by an independent third-party, adding that the code will support its ongoing efforts to promote responsible gambling advertising during the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis.

“We’re very pleased to present EGBA’s Code of Conduct for responsible gambling advertising, which promotes high standards for minor protection and socially responsible advertising content,” EGBA secretary general Maarten Haijer said.

“Advertising is essential to inform the consumer of the websites which are regulated and steer them away from rogue black-market websites. But advertising should be responsible and protect consumers, particularly minors.

“We encourage other gambling companies to sign up to the code and look forward to engaging with Europe’s authorities to ensure its success.”

Publication of the code comes after the EGBA earlier this month disputed claims that national lockdowns as a result of the coronavirus pandemic will lead to an increase in online gambling, claiming instead that activity will in fact decline.

However, it also warned that with additional scrutiny on operators, it was particularly important to take a lead in protecting players, rather than leaving it to individuals to police their own behaviour.