Responsible communication in the field of gambling
(continued from the previous issue)
By Dan Iliovici, Vice-president, ROMBET
Although, at least at the declarative level, the vast majority of gambling operators understand their responsibility in the case of commercial communication (advertising), the vague legislative provisions, which remain at the level of principles*1, do not provide a clear legal framework, which operators and authorities to be able to apply it unequivocally*2. Hence the idea of putting into public debate, at the beginning of 2018, as president of ONJN, the Code of Ethics for responsible communication in the field of gambling. In the following I will continue the presentation of the most important provisions of this Code.
As we have previously pointed out, the provisions of the Code would not have been binding, but would have represented a set of self-regulatory norms; in order to find the best wording, discussions are needed with all stakeholders (operators, regulators, authorities, media representatives, etc.).
All promotional materials should contain a clear message about “Responsible Gaming”. Thus, in the draft of this code of ethics were included a series of minimum provisions, such as:
- The responsible gaming message (for example, in the form of a web page containing information for the player) must be included in promotional materials, including print media advertorials, marketing materials, digital media, such as organizers’ websites, promotional or sponsored events . This message will include how to obtain information on the concept of responsible gaming (contact details, information point address);
- The responsible gaming message must include a warning to players, urging them to keep track of the amounts spent on gambling. Online gambling operators will have to provide players with all the information on the history of deposits, amounts played and winnings;
- The communication must contain at least a warning to convey the idea of social responsibility, in the sense that gambling means a way of spending free time, possibly associated with the idea of spending a certain amount of money;
- Commercial communication in the field of gambling must encourage responsible gaming. Example: “Gambling is a way of spending free time. You take care to keep control”.
Regarding the actual content of the advertisements:
- The communication must be clear, not based on vague terms, which can mislead or deceive players. Example: “cash back 10%” – published without the necessary explanation to understand exactly what this entails;
- The communication must not contain misleading acts or omissions;
- Communication should not encourage or encourage gambling in a way that leads to obsessive behavior, indicating, for example, that playing daily / weekly can increase your chances of winning. Example: “You won, keep playing! You lost, keep playing! ”;
- The communication must not exaggerate the chances of winning or state that there is a guaranteed win;
- The communication must not support or suggest that the outcome of a game of chance may be influenced by anything other than chance.
I also consider the following points to be very important:
- Commercial communication should not contain strong and pressing messages such as “You have to…”, “You have nothing to lose” or “Play now”;
- The communication will have to respect the choice of each person not to play, not to portray in a negative light the abstention from playing or to play moderately;
- The communication must not affect the players’ will to stop playing, putting any kind of obstacles, in the form of time conditions (playing time), minimum amount of money played / played, etc;
- The communication should not suggest that gambling can be a solution to financial problems, a way to make money, a method of enrichment or a form of financial investment;
- Communication should not lead to the idea that excessive gambling losses do not have negative consequences;
- The communication must not provide misleading information about the chances of winning, and / or lead players to believe that if they repeat the game, their chances of winning will increase;
- The communication should not suggest that the player’s skills or experience will eliminate, or diminish, the (random) luck factor on which the winnings depend;
- Communication should not suggest the need to persevere in gambling, or contempt for the idea of abstinence from gambling;
- Communication should not suggest that gambling can improve personal skills or social recognition;
Continuation in the next issue of Casino Life & Business Magazine.
- According to Art. 6 para. 7 of the Norms for the application of GEO 77/2009.
- ECHIVÓC, -Ă, equivoci, -ce, adj., Equivocuri, s. N. 1. Adj. Which can be interpreted in several ways, with two meanings; unclear, confusing, ambiguous. (DEX)