Regulation in Europe
Several European countries are taking strong steps to limit or halt advertising for online casinos and other high-risk games. The Norwegian government is not alone in its work on minimising this type of advertising.
Europe tightening the rules
In recent years, a series of new regulations and measures have been introduced in the gaming sector, both in Norway and internationally. The need for new measures varies from country to country. Nevertheless, two common denominators are the measures for reducing the marketing of high risk games and the measures for reducing unregulated activities.
It is not just local authorities that are working to make unregulated and illegal activities more difficult.
Loopholes are being plugged
It is not just local authorities that are working to make unregulated and illegal activities more difficult. In 2021, 136 OECD countries agreed that major international companies will be subject to a minimum tax rate of 15 per cent. Gaming companies that are, for example, based in Malta, may see their taxes triple. This may make it less lucrative to set up in, and operate from, tax havens. This will make unregulated activities more difficult, including in Norway.
Curaçao is also a popular location for foreign gaming companies that also operate in unregulated gaming markets. Following discussions between the Dutch government and Curaçao, agreement has been reached that, among other measures, a gaming regulator will be introduced. This regulator will ensure that gaming companies that set up business on the island comply with the legislation in the countries at which they target their activities.
Saying no to gaming advertising
A series of countries have in recent years introduced restrictions on marketing gaming. Italy has gone the furthest with its total prohibition. Spain, Portugal, the UK and the Netherlands have also taken steps to reduce the volume of gaming advertising. The common denominator is that the measures are targeted at high-risk games, especially online casino games.
In other words, the Norwegian government is not alone in its efforts to minimise this type of gaming advertising.
Social media tightening rules
There are no adverts for casino games in any national media in Norway. Even media like Facebook and YouTube are largely free of this type of advertising. Other countries are now trying to limit the same type of advertising in their markets. This is contributing to the media taking responsibility for contributing to less gaming advertising.
- Facebook recently announced that gaming advertising will be included in the so-called ‘opt out’ feature, where users can decide for themselves whether they want to see less gaming advertising.
- Snapchat is testing a similar feature in the UK.
- Twitch has introduced a prohibition on advertising for betting websites.
The new restrictions will hopefully contribute to less unregulated advertising, including on social media. At the same time, problem and at-risk gamblers have better opportunities to reduce their exposure to advertising across multiple channels.
Restrictions on casino games
Norway prohibits advertising for casino games and has a strict loss limit for them. Other countries without the same tools are now considering introducing restrictions on the design of online casino games. The options include limits on stakes, reducing withdrawal rates and a ban on ‘celebrating’ prizes that are less than the stake (negative wins). Following developments in the efforts in Norway and Europe to limit the scope and harmful effects of online casino and high risk games will be exciting.