EGBA urges responsible advertising amid Covid-19 crisis

30 March 2020

The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) has issued new guidance on how operators should promote their products safely and responsibly during the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

EGBA said it strongly opposes operators referencing Covid-19 in marketing campaigns and, as such, has set out new guidelines for gambling brands to ensure they are operating and advertising responsibly.

Operators must not refer to coronavirus, World Health Organisation (WHO) statements referencing the pandemic, or any other related developments, it said.

Operators were also warned to ensure their adverts do not portray gambling as a solution to social, personal or financial problems, nor invite customers to gamble online as a solution to boredom.

It added that all advertising and websites should contain signposted information about age restrictions, problem gambling helplines and self-exclusion registers, as well as responsible gambling tools such as deposit limits and self-exclusion tools.

EGBA also urged operators to closely monitor customer activity so that it could spot any signs of problem gambling, and step up interventions as necessary. These guidelines would support actions already being taken by members of the association as part of their safer gambling efforts, it said.

“EGBA is committed to driving standards across the online gambling sector and these are important measures which we think gambling companies should adopt to protect their customers and ensure their advertising is conducted in an ethical and socially responsible way," EGBA secretary general Maarten Haijer explained. "We urge all online gambling companies to adhere to them.”

Local operator associations across a number of European markets have already declared their support for EGBA's guidance.

This includes the UK's Betting and Gaming Council, the Association Française des Opérateurs de Jeu en Ligne (AFJEL), Portugal's Associação Portuguesa de Apostas e Jogos Online (APAJO), Swedish body Branschföreningen för Onlinespel (BOS), the Belgian Association of Gaming Operators, and Germany's Deutscher Online Casinoverband (COCV) and Deutscher Sportwettenverband, as well as the Danish Online Gambling Association.

Also supporting the guidance are the International Betting Integrity Association, Malta-based iGaming European Network (iGEN), Italian body Lega Operatori di Gioco su Canale Online, Norway's Norsk Bransjeforening for Onlinespill, Österreichische Vereinigung für Wetten & Glücksspiel in Austria and Dutch association Speel Verantwoord.

EGBA's intervention is the latest to urging operators to ensure they operate and advertise in a socially responsible manner during the ongoing crisis.

Last week, British Gambling Commission chair Neil McArthur called for online operators to ramp up consumer protection and responsible marketing efforts, while standards body the Betting and Gaming Council published a new ten-point action plan to ensure its members keep customers safe.

The Malta Gaming Authority reminded licensees and affiliates to be responsible with commercial communications, and Dutch regulator the Kansspelautoriteit pledged to add €50,000 to any illegal marketing fine if the advertiser seeks to use Covid-19 to promote their offering.