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Cyprus restricts gambling ads

Fri, Jul 26, 2:51pm by Staff Writer

Cyprus has become the latest European country to come up with restrictions in the way gambling services are advertised on its territory, Casino News Daily reports.

The Cyprus Gaming and Casino Supervision Commission announced Monday that it has crafted a set of rules regarding the promotion of the Mediterranean nation’s nascent land-based casino industry.

There are four operational casinos on the territory of the Republic of Cyprus – one temporary casino in Limassol, which will remain operational while a larger integrated resort is under development in the city, and three satellite casinos in Nicosia, Larnaca, and Ayia Napa.

All four gaming facilities operate under the Cyprus Casinos (C2) brand, which is managed by Integrated Casino Resorts (Cyprus) Ltd. (ICR), the local subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed gaming and hospitality giant Melco Resorts & Entertainment.

The Cyprus Gaming and Casino Supervision Commission issued on July 17, 2019 its Casino Advertising and Promotions Direction, which contains a list of restrictions ICR is obligated to comply with in order to avoid regulatory trouble.

The regulator’s advertising code took effect on the very same day it was issued.

The commission pointed out that its recently published directions set the standards and requirements for advertising casino gambling on the territory of Cyprus.

The regulator also noted that its latest move aims to “ensure gambling activities are carried out in a socially responsible manner.”

Monopoly-themed ad draws ire of regulator

Gambling regulators have a Monopoly-themed online casino game in their sights after the board game’s familiar cartoon mascot – Rich Uncle Pennybags – could appeal to children.

The Guardian reported in May that the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) found the ad, which appeared on the Mirror Online website in the United Kingdom, breached its code, which says that gambling ads must not be designed to appeal to young people.

The ban comes amid mounting concern about the exposure of children to gambling, through channels including television ads, football shirt sponsorship, computer games, apps and social media.

The UK Gambling Commission released an audit last year that revealed that the number of problem gamblers aged 11 to 16 years of age had risen significantly to 55,000 over two years, prompting concern over a “generational scandal”.

The ASA has yet to publish its ruling, but the Guardian understands that the regulator has told Entertaining Play, the Gibraltar-based company behind the game, that it must not appear again.

A report last year revealed that British World Cup viewers were exposed to almost 90 minutes of betting adverts during the 2018 FIFA World Cup, prompting claims that children were bombarded with messages encouraging them to gamble.

From the beginning of the tournament to England’s semi-final clash with Croatia, ITV carried more than eight and a half hours of advertisements, of which just under an hour and a half were advertising betting.

That is equivalent to 17 per cent of World Cup ad breaks, or roughly one minute in every six, with the 172 betting spots combined lasting nearly the length of a football match.

Bookmakers and online casino companies enjoyed one and a half times as much screen time as alcohol firms and almost four times that of fast food outlets.

Likeness to children’s cartoon a factor in decision

A government review of gambling regulation shied away from suggesting curbs on gambling adverts, citing insufficient evidence that adverts for betting were causing harm to children and vulnerable people.

The Right Rev Dr Alan Smith, bishop of St Albans, welcomed the ruling regarding the Monopoly-themed game, saying the advert was “yet more evidence” that gambling companies are targeting children.

“Monopoly is beloved by young people and there was no doubt that a smiling cartoon character, which is the logo of this family board game, will appeal to children.”

“Board games should be allowed to remain board games and must be off-limits to gambling companies pushing boundaries in order to normalize highly addictive casino games,” Smith said.

“I hope other companies that stoop to these tactics take note and remove similar adverts,” he added.

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