Online Gambling Ad Restrictions Gain Traction

Posted on: August 15, 2023, 11:22h. 

Last updated on: August 15, 2023, 11:22h.

An Argentinean Congresswoman wants much tighter restrictions around online gambling advertising. The bill presented by Marcela Campagnoli has several parts but the bottom line she says is to “prevent online or virtual pathological gambling.”

Pennsylvania sports betting sportsbook advertisement
Sportsbook advertisements like this one from BetMGM are the target of new restrictions in countries like Argentina, Ireland, Australia, and The Netherlands. (Image: BetMGM)

“In short, we seek to restrict the advertising of online gambling in the communications media and virtual platforms, in order to have a regulation that avoids the development of such pathology, something like the regulation that restricted cigarette advertising,” the congresswoman concluded.

The bill boils down to time slot restrictions on ads.

According to publicly released text, online or virtual gambling advertising will be limited to television, radio, and media content platforms, viewed on computers or cell phones through the internet, web pages, [and] social networks exclusively to the time slot from one to five in the morning. In addition, there is a proposal to prohibit the use of debit cards to pay for bets, and restrictions on the content of ads which “shall be neutral and may not appeal or incite directly to the user. Advertising of recruitment bonuses is prohibited.”

The Netherlands has also rolled out a ban on untargeted ads for online gambling services. The Dutch Government restrictions took effect in July and targets television, radio, print, and public places such as billboards, bus shelters, cafes, and gaming venues. The Dutch government still allows advertising for online gambling in a “properly targeted way,” and prohibits language encouraging irresponsible play.

Ireland has gotten into the game as well with a gambling Regulation Bill proposal that prohibits ads between the hours o 5:30 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.

Some Companies Increase Ad Spend in Response to Threat

Sportsbet is stepping up its marketing spend in an effort to get ahead of any bans in Australia. A federal parliamentary committee recommended a phased ban on advertising over three years, and the current political climate seems to lean in favor of restrictions or bans.

The online betting shops aren’t rolling over either, and many of them represented by Responsible Wagering Australia insist blanket bans won’t stop problem gamblers, who will just turn to illegal offshore markets.

Market Analysts say advertising related to sports betting/wagering has been a huge growth category for Australian media companies over the last 10 years. Money from gambling ads has grown by roughly 13% yearly over the last 15 years, hitting $300 million in 2022 from $53 million in 2007.

It’s That Time of the Year

The NFL preseason and the excitement around regular-season games beginning in September is increasing ad spend and sparking new marketing campaigns. But questions about sponsorships of gambling companies remain largely unanswered.

Professional football is one of the biggest sports in the US, but the rules can be vague and many question what exactly NFL players are allowed to bet on. 

In regard to questions regarding sponsorships by gambling companies, the NFL is looking toward the NBA for answers. The NBA last year announced partnerships making both DraftKings and FanDuel official sports betting partners.

Analysts say the NFL is slowly navigating tricky questions regarding sports betting, but the rise of online gambling and digital ads may force faster action and an extra focus on balancing gambling ads and sponsors with other sectors wanting to increase their ad profile.