Gambling advertising is essential to direct players to licensed operators, Maarten Haijer, secretary general of the EGBA has said.
Without which, European citizens are exposed to “dubious search engine results” and gambling companies that offer no player protection.
Haijer, whose comments come in the introductions to the winter edition of the EGBA’s Online Gambling Focus wrote: “As well as enabling companies to highlight their products and offers to potential or existing customers, a major benefit of gambling advertising is that it directs consumers towards those gambling operators who are licensed in a given EU country.”
“For online gambling companies, advertising is particularly important because it is the only way they can inform consumers about their existence and products.”
Without advertising, consumers have no way of discerning between legal and illegal, leaving them exposed to “potentially very risky situations, including a lack of player support, consumer protection and zero legal recourse whenever they have a dispute with such websites.”
“Having said that, there are risks that advertising exposes minors and other vulnerable groups to gambling,” Haijer continued. “That’s why we strongly support measures to clamp down on irresponsible gambling advertising to protect all consumers, including these vulnerable groups. The challenge is how to strike the right balance: allowing advertising which is responsible, sufficiently directs betting consumers to the regulated gambling websites and does not entice problem gamblers or young people to gamble.”
William Fenton, Board Director, European Sponsorship Association (ESA) noted that advertising rules have been diverging among EU member states in recent years, and are likely to continue doing so.
“However, in all EU countries, sponsorship is conceptually based on a contract of mutual benefit, and so the onus should be on both the gambling operators, the sports rights holders and particularly the sponsored parties, such as sports clubs or leagues, to take an active role in ensuring the sponsorship activities and their implementation are consistent with these guidelines,” said Fenton.
Gambling sponsors are not alone in facing pressure from regulators, and ESA works with a number of other sectors, such as the fast food and alcoholic drinks, to establish and adopt self-regulation initiatives. Indeed some of the brands in these sectors are using sponsorship as a medium to promote responsibility. A good example of this approach is Heineken’s successful and prominent campaign against drinking and driving in Formula One. With social responsibility now being an integral part of any sustainable business, sponsorship could be a good tool to express that commitment publicly, also for gambling operators.