Gambling Trade Bodies Unite to Call for Safer Advertisements
Fifteen of the biggest European gambling trade bodies have united to issue guidance on advertisements during the Covid-19 crisis. As many countries are entering or considering a second lockdown, the industry is stressing its commitment to responsible gambling.
The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA), Speel Verantwoord, BAGO, French trade body ARJEL and the Danish Online Gambling Association are among fifteen gambling trade bodies who have united to ensure a unified approach to operator’s marketing.
The group produced guidance to members on advertisements during the initial coronavirus lockdown in March. The collaboration between the trade bodies was a response to press reports of operators using Covid-19-themed advertising to sell their products, a tactic the group strongly oppose. With cases of the coronavirus increasing throughout Europe and many regions enter a second lockdown, the group have expressed concern that some operators may use the pandemic in their advertising of products and have released guidance to their members.
In a statement made by the collective, they state: “The reintroduction of more severe restrictions could again lead to citizens spending prolonged periods at home and raises concerns that isolation could increase the risks of addictive behaviours, including those related to gambling,”
“Gambling companies should therefore be vigilant to promote safer gambling and protect their customers, particularly those who are vulnerable, during these difficult times,” the group added.
In the guidance, the group state that operator adverts should not refer to the coronavirus, related public health announcements or any developments that relate to the virus.
As well as advertisement guidance, the group have also issued guidelines on responsible gambling measures that the operators should follow. These include using adequate age verification software (age-gating), employing robust identity verification processes, increased monitoring of potentially harmful gambling behaviour and signposting safer gambling tools on their platforms and promotional materials.
The European Gaming and Betting Association secretary-general Maarten Haijer said of the guidelines:
This guidance is intended to help fellow citizens and provides an opportunity for gambling companies to demonstrate their willingness to take responsibility during these challenging times.– Maarten Haijer, EGBA secretary-general
“These are simple but essential measures which all gambling companies should adopt to protect their customers, step up their social responsibility efforts and ensure their advertising is conducted ethically and responsibly. We urge all online gambling companies to adhere to them,” Haijer added.
Covid-19 deaths in Europe surpassed 200,000 on Monday, and countries are implementing measures to slow down the rate of infection. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) state that 201,151 people in the EU/EEA and the UK have lost their lives due to the virus and the number of infected people is now approaching 5 million.
Ireland was the first European country to announce a full second lockdown which will last six weeks. France has introduced a curfew for its citizens, and Wales has announced a strict, 17-day “firebreak” lockdown which comes into effect this Friday. England has introduced a three-tier system (medium alert, high alert and very high alert) with more severe restrictions for parts of the country that are under very high alert.