Laws and Regulations on Gambling Advertising Around The World

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With the rise of online gambling platforms and the increasing visibility of gambling advertisements, it’s important to understand the laws and regulations surrounding this controversial industry. Are you aware of the restrictions and guidelines that govern gambling advertising?

Gambling has long been a contentious issue, with concerns about addiction and its impact on vulnerable populations. As a result, governments around the world have implemented strict regulations to control the promotion of gambling activities.

As a responsible gambler or a concerned citizen, it’s crucial to be informed about the laws and regulations on gambling advertising. By understanding the limitations and requirements set by authorities, we can ensure that gambling advertisements are presented safely and responsibly.

Let’s delve into the intricacies of these laws and explore how they impact the gambling industry.

An Overview of Laws and Regulations on Gambling Advertising

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Below is an overview of the current gambling and gambling advertising laws and regulations in various parts of the world.

Europe

In Europe, many countries have legalized gambling businesses and advertising but still, there are some legal and government restrictions. 
The legislative regulation of gambling advertising in Europe can be divided into:

  • Permission of gambling advertising — gambling and gambling advertising are allowed with some restrictions.
  • Partial ban on gambling advertising — more stringent legislative requirements and criteria for people to be served with gambling content. 
  • A total ban on gambling advertising — no opportunity to offer gambling activities or advertising.

Partial Ban

Russia and Ukraine are two countries that have a partial ban on gambling advertising that requires ads to be shown between certain times of the day. 

Scandinavia 
In Norway and Sweden, gambling advertising is allowed but restricts targeting ads to minors.

Iceland and Finland also ban advertising aimed at minors, as well as using television and audiovisual services as a medium.

Denmark allows gambling advertising with the condition that the ads don’t invite people to gamble or visit any gambling venue. 

The Baltic Countries
Estonia partially bans gambling ads from containing any invitation to participate in gambling or visit gambling establishments.  

Lithuania bans gambling advertising except for advertising the name, trademark, and legal form of the gambling company. However, the advertising restrictions don’t apply to lotteries. 

Other European Countries
Belarus partially bans gambling advertising on TV between daytime hours, in educational institutions, healthcare, cultural, sports facilities, and mass media. 

Poland has a partial ban on advertising with restrictions set for sports betting, casinos, and gambling establishments. Advertising cylindrical games, card games, dice games, and gambling machines are banned. 

Germany partially bans gambling advertising on TV and on the Internet, but with one expectation — the authorities can grant permission to the operators of lotteries, sports, and horserace betting to advertise on TV and the Internet. 

But in general, advertising of sports betting before and during live TV broadcasts of sporting events is prohibited. 

The Czech Republic also partially bans advertising, which, in practice, means not offering or promoting gambling activities. 

Slovakia has a partial ban on gambling advertising whereby companies can only advertise gambling activities within 200 meters of the gambling establishment. 

In the Netherlands and Belgium, the partial ban limits gambling advertising between certain hours, i.e. 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Outside of those hours, gambling advertising is allowed. 

The UK has a liberal approach, as gambling advertising is legal and even allowed on TV since the introduction of the new Gambling Act in 2007. The only restriction concerns minors, as they should not be targeted by gambling ads.

In Ireland, gambling advertising is partially prohibited, which means that if lottery ads are published or posted, they are subject to be banned. There is also no specialized legislation so the gambling topic is governed by general regulations of consumer protection.

Total ban

Moldova completely bans gambling advertising.

Latvia has a general ban on gambling ads. It applies to advertising outside gambling establishments and is restricted to advertising on the Internet. However, the country allows 13 licensed operators to offer gaming to players within the country.

The US

Gambling is legal under US federal law, but there are some significant restrictions in various states regarding different types of gambling, as each state is free to regulate or prohibit gambling and gambling advertising within its borders. 

For instance, DraftKings and FanDuel can advertise in New York state, as they are perceived as fantasy leagues that are not considered to be gambling, but rather a game of skill. 

There are some general advertising rules that gambling companies in the US must follow:

  • Advertising can not be targeted at minors and audiences under the age of 21 in sports wagering, gaming, or related activities. 
  • Ads should not include people listed as “sports pool participants” e.g. players, coaches, trainers, league employees, or a person who holds a position of authority.
  • Ads shall not be false, deceptive, or misleading.
  • Each ad must clearly state a problem-gambling hotline number.

However, there is one state in the US that allows casinos to advertise — Nevada. 

Nevertheless, all advertising activities must be conducted in a manner that does not bring the gaming industry in Nevada into disrepute. This means casinos shall conduct their advertising and public-relation operations under dignity, good taste, and inoffensiveness.

Africa

Africa presents a diverse landscape when it comes to gambling laws and regulations, and advertising is no exception.

Here’s a breakdown of the key points to consider:

A Patchwork of Rules:

Unlike some regions with uniform national regulations, African countries have varying approaches. Some, like South Africa, have established gambling commissions with clear advertising guidelines. Others might have limited regulations or none at all.

Commonalities in Regulations:

Despite the differences, some common themes emerge:

  • Protecting Minors: Most countries restrict gambling advertising to prevent targeting minors. This might involve limitations on-air times, channels used, or content that appeals to children.
  • Responsible Gambling Messages: Some regulations require gambling ads to include warnings about the risks of addiction and responsible gambling helplines.
  • Time and Place Restrictions: Specific times of day or locations for advertising might be restricted, particularly near schools or during family-oriented programming.

The Evolving Landscape:

The rise of online gambling adds another layer of complexity. Regulations might not be fully adapted to the digital world, leaving some loopholes for online advertising.

Staying Informed:

For the most up-to-date information, it’s crucial to consult the specific regulations of the country in question.

Here are some resources to get you started:

  • Government Websites: Many African countries publish gambling regulations on official government websites.
  • Regulatory Commissions: Countries with established gambling commissions often have dedicated sections on their websites outlining advertising guidelines.
  • Legal Resources: Legal databases and industry reports might offer insights into current gambling regulations and advertising restrictions.

The Takeaway:

Gambling advertising in Africa is a complex landscape. While some regulations exist, there’s a significant degree of variation across the continent. Understanding the specific rules and staying informed is essential for responsible advertising practices.

Asia and Oceania

Thailand
In Thailand, gambling is regulated by the Gambling Act which divides gambling into three categories:

  1. Prohibits gambling.
  2. Regulates lucky draws.
  3. Covers types of gambling in which public participation is allowed along with advertising or promoting.

Japan 
In Japan, the main forms of gambling are prohibited. Still, there is one exception that allows gambling activities regarding land-based betting on horse races, bicycle races, motorcycle races, and motorboat races. 

Gambling advertising in Japan is prohibited except for passenger terminal facilities in airports and ports. 

China
Gambling is illegal in China along with gambling advertising. But the approach of authorities to online gambling is changing, so in the future there is a chance that some laws will be adjusted. 


Australia 
In Australia, ads for betting products are prohibited during TV programs classified G or lower from 6 am to 8.30 am and from 4 pm to 7 pm, or in programs directed at children between 5 am and 8.30 pm.

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