Slovakian regulator launches action plan to limit ads

By Daniel O'Boyle

Slovakia’s Office for the Regulation of Gambling has launched its Action Plan for Responsible Marketing, the first step in creating an industry code to limit gambling ads in the country.

The Office noted that the public is currently exposed to gambling advertising across a wide range of channels, such as television, radio, sponsorship and outdoor ads. In addition, it said, ads for unregulated gambling products may reach children or those suffering from gambling-related harm.

David Lenčéš, director general of the Office, added that it was important that there were clear standards for responsible advertising in the country.

“It is socially desirable that Slovak gambling advertising has clear standards and responsible content,” he said. “That is why we are coming up with the Action Plan for Responsible Advertising.

The scheme will take the form of a discussion between stakeholders with the intent of creating an industry code of responsible advertising. Lenčéš added that it will look at the amount of advertising, the content of these ads and where it is targeted.

“This initiative of our office involves opening a professional partnership discussion. It is mainly about the intensity, focus and content of advertising. It will ultimately help us to deal with the ethics of advertising in relation to vulnerable groups and children, in particular because of the need to use consumer-friendly information about operators' products and services in advertising.

“Let us not forget the information about the risks of problem gambling, financial losses, responsible gambling and the possibilities of assistance in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of non-substance addictions.”

The Office added that there are “strong enough public interest reasons” to take regulatory action to protect customers from the harmful effects of gambling, but that at the current time, self-regulation appeared to be the most effective mechanism.

"It is in our interest that gambling is a safe source of entertainment and a legally predictable environment for both operators and consumers. The result of professional cooperation could be a new starting point for possible future legislation," Lenčéš said.

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