Ban on advertising: the new Agcom rules for gaming retail
Clear indications (also) for operators of the land-based gaming appears from the Agcom’s guidelines about the ban on adevrtising.
Ban confirmed but, finally, regulated. With the guidelines just published by Agcom, there is clarity about the application of the new restrictive rules as regards not only the online but also the physical stores present in the area. Without prejudice to signs, window tansparencies and other specific cases.
Instead, pursuant to art.9 of the decree, “any form of advertising, even indirect, sponsorship, or communication with promotional content of gaming with cash prizes is prohibited”. In addition to traditional forms of advertising, prohibited commercial communication must be considered: the so-called “product placement”; the distribution of branded gadgets of gaming products; the organization of events with prizes consisting of branded products; prize contests as defined and qualified by the d.p.r. 26 October 2001, n. 430; editorial advertising; direct and indirect advertising by influencers. Without exception, according to the Authority. Therefore, no one can appeal to the explicit consent provided by the user to receive commercial communications, as expressly stated in the Guidelines:
“Given the reason of the rule and the mandatory nature of the ban, neither the prior consent given by the player/user to send commercial communications regarding paid gaming nor a conclusive behavior in the sense of determination to play can’t have any exonerating effectiveness”.
SAFE SIGNS AND TECHNICAL INFO – However, the distinguishing features of legal gaming are not included in the ban “only if they strictly identify the place where the relative activity takes place (for example: mere operating signs or domains of online websites)”. Communications of a mere informative nature provided by legal gaming operators don’t fall within the scope of application of the law. In particular, “information limited to the characteristics of the various gaming products and services offered, where released in the context in which paid gaming service is offered” is not to be considered advertising. This category includes, as an example, the information that is made available on the gaming websites or in the physical gaming points, concerning the odds, jackpot, winning odds, minimum bets, any bonuses offered, provided they are made in the compliance with the principles of continency, non-misleading, transparency and lack of promotional emphasis. Information provided on the customer’s request is not considered advertising – if strictly relevant to what the client requires and functional to allow informed gaming choices – as regards the functioning and characteristics of the gaming service, or on the existence of new products or services.
Logo or reference to gaming services present on the window transparencies of the shops offering paid gaming, as well as the mere display of the winnings made at a point of sale offering gaming services are permitted only if carried out in ways, including graphics and dimensions, that aren’t a form of induction to the paid gaming.
More generally, as indicated in the resolution establishing the Agcom guidelines, “the use of the brand that identifies additional activities, having independent nature, in addition to services, games with cash winnings or gambling, is permitted only to the extent in which there is no ambiguity about the object of the promotion and no element evoking gaming appears on it, except for the mere name of the supplier.
RULES FOR THE CASINO – Gambling houses deserve separate rules. According to Agcom, advertising and any other form of commercial communication relating to events other than the paid gaming offer taking place inside casinos or gambling halls is permitted only if there is no promotion, even indirect, of paid gaming. In order to evaluate the promotional nature of the paid gaming offer, the following elements are taken into consideration, as an example: the free nature of the event, the presence, in the place where the event takes place, of services, gadgets, logos regarding paid gaming, the emphasis that is given in the advertising of the event to elements evoking paid gaming. All forms of communication imposed by the law or by the administrative concession provision are also permitted.