TV, radio, sports matches and online ads are full of gambling advertisements today. Various casinos are offering the best deals and experiences to try and stand out from the crowd. The sheer volume of gambling advertisements has skyrocketed over the past decade. This has been alongside the meteoric rise of gambling online. While North America might have Vegas and Asia has Macau, Europe can consider its crown gambling jewel to be its online scene. Some European countries have spent decades perfecting their gambling markets. Others are completely new to the scene and ready to get involved with all the online buzz. Many governments come up with their own solutions on how to regulate their gambling markets. This of course includes regulations on advertising.
Covering every country’s nuances to gambling advertisements is beyond the scope of this article. That is why we will instead split different approaches into three main categories. Permitted, partially banned, and full ban. A permitted territory will generally have a liberal stance towards gambling overall. While some restrictions may still be in place, operators are much freer to showcase their products. A partially banned territory will still allow for gambling advertisements. Although, under much stricter conditions. These conditions will generally be specific to the industry. A territory with a full ban does not permit gambling advertisements under any circumstances. Many of these nations tend to favor heavy restrictions on gambling in general.
Scandinavian countries are seen as very liberal and their regulations on gambling are no different. Denmark, Norway, and Sweden have relatively straightforward and relaxed views on gambling advertisements. Iceland and Finland have a slightly stricter stance though (more below). France and Switzerland are also considered permitted countries. There are of course restrictions on advertising to minors and such. There are certain social restrictions that are gambling advertisers will have to face no matter the country. Greece, North Macedonia, Hungary, Montenegro, Serbia, and Slovenia also take a liberal stance in this regard.
Partially Banned Countries
As mentioned above, Iceland and Finland are not quite as liberal. This is when compared to their Scandinavian brethren. Iceland, for example, requires all advertisements to be in their native tongue. Finnish rules include the banning of gambling adverts on TV and cinema. Russia is similar in this respect. TV and radio adverts are constrained to slots between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. Poland is an example of a country taking steps a little further. It has harder restrictions on the advertisement of the gambling establishments themselves.
It should be noted that partially banned countries can fall into a broad spectrum. Most countries in Europe fall somewhere into this spectrum. There does tend to be an ownage on the social responsibilities required for a healthy industry. The United Kingdom, for example, is very liberal in the places in which advertisements can be placed. Difficulties can arise with marketers and the country’s hyper-ethical approach. This is done to protect minors and those deemed vulnerable from the harms of gambling. This can make more abstract concepts more of a minefield. Germany, Spain, Austria, Portugal and many others all permit the activity, but at varying degrees.
Full Ban Countries
Albania and Kosovo are examples of European countries that have a full ban. This covers all advertisements related to gambling activities. Albania does allow its residents to gamble in the country, but completely restricts all forms of spreading the word. Kosovo on the other hand has a complete ban on all gambling within its borders.
The Future Of Gambling Advertising In The EU
More and more countries are trending towards tightening up measures against gambling operators. This is especially the case for online establishments. Even liberal countries like Sweden have made a lot of changes to tighten measures in recent years. It is suspected that this will continue for some time now. It is important to understand the social impacts that gambling can have on communities. Equally, there is an importance on the government measures to protect against harm. The other side, however, is businesses struggling to be seen. This might not just directly harm the business. It is speculated that this might also indirectly help black market operations. This is based on the thought that legitimate sites will be unable to distinguish themselves from unlicensed sites. It, therefore, seems that regulatory bodies will need to come up with smarter solutions to effectively balance this.