We have seen in the last few months a special effervescence at European level regarding the regulation of gambling, especially advertising for this special activity. And the trend is to narrow down, limit the ways in which commercial gambling communication is achieved, a trend that tends to reduce the impact of gambling advertising on children and vulnerable people.
If we have an “extreme” example in Italy, the ban on publicity for gambling, a populist move taken by the Muvimento Cinque Stelle, other states have a more rational approach.
Spain has therefore taken a “step-by-step” approach by experts to reduce the risk factor in vulnerable categories to gambling, precisely to avoid reaching talks or so restrictive conditions on the promotion of these entertainment services. For online gambling, “Consejo Asesor del Juego Responsible” was set up in Spain – a responsible game advisory commission. The novelty consists in the fact that this committee is composed of representatives of the main Iberian public health organizations, in the desire to create programs and platforms of best applied solutions on the types of problems – especially social – that appear among the vulnerable categories of players. The decision of the Spanish gambling leaders in the field of gambling to strategically rethink the direction of the responsible game also has another determinant factor: recently, the Spanish Ministry of Health decided to categorize the players with serious problems (addictions) in the same medical category as drug addicts, which sparked a heated civil society debate in the Iberian Peninsula.
In the British archipelago, there is the same … prophylactic approach to Responsible Gambling: Responsible Gambling Strategy Board – responsible for responsible gambling strategy and policies at the UK Gambling Commission – has a new head in Dr. Anna van der Gaag, a well-known and militant public health figure in the UK, called the Commander of the Most Exquisite Order of the British Empire (CBE) in recognition of his efforts in this field. “I am delighted with this opportunity to be part of a commitment to understanding and harm reduction and raising awareness of the personal and social costs that can arise from gambling activities,” said Dr. van der Gaag immediately after appointment.
It is clear, therefore, that the preventive aspect is both a solution for players and operators. November 1-7 was the UK’s Responsible Gaming Week, a week in which the London government announced that it would impose a reduction in its maximum stake in games with high potential add-ons, the so-called FOBT – Fixed Odds Betting Terminals, times! (from 100 GBP to 2GBP). And the deadline for compliance was reduced from one year, as originally, to six months!
Very recently, some of the UK’s largest online gambling operators, reunited within the Remote Gambling Association (RGA), voluntarily agreed not to broadcast gambling ads during live television sports competitions, in a joint effort to reduce the impact of these advertisements on children, the most vulnerable audience. The measure was already welcomed by Tom Watson, the prominent leader of the British laborers, who declared their support to the measure announced by online operators who have adopted the Labor Party’s banning banner ban on TV games live. “I am glad that this time the industry has listened to and has taken its responsibilities seriously …”, Watson stressed in concluding his statement.
“In Romania, we hope to have a new breath in the way we tackle the issue of the Responsible Gaming with the signing of the Pact for Responsibility of the Gambling Industry. We still need a clear signal from the business community that it understands that integrating these responsible policies and game programs into business flow is a proof of social responsibility, maturity of industry. We have a Pact, now we have to implement it through concrete actions, otherwise it will remain a “dead letter”.
A courageous approach to responsible gambling, with all its aspects, including gambling ads, can save us from extremely unpleasant “surprises” in the near future. If we do not act today, tomorrow might be too late. If we are not wise enough to start self-regulation, others will come to regulate us.” – says Dan Iliovici, Vice-President of ROMBET.