During the opening of the CSR and Responsible Gaming seminar, organized by EL and WLA in Amsterdam, René Jansen, Chairman of the Gambling Authority in Netherlands, set the tone when he explained how as a regulator, they have been forced to impose a ban on advertising after they approved the use of online channels for private and public operators.
In his exposé, Piet Van Baeveghem, Executive Chair of the EL Legal & Regulatory Affairs WG, Belgium, mentioned potential solutions for a more collaborative approach between regulators and operators. The aim would be to create a regulated, entertaining environment and avoid a complete ban on advertising or of defining the rules to be applied based on, for example, the risk level of games.
DigitalRG.com provides tools which assist lotteries to successfully achieve ESG, CSR, Responsible Gaming and sustainability certification by measuring the level of risks of their advertising campaigns or conducting a social media risk assessment.
Finding creative solutions
Even if the advertising ban can seem to limit market growth potential, some lotteries were able to look at it as an opportunity, and use responsible gaming and social causes, to connect with their audiences.
The panel discussion was moderated by Arjan Van ‘T Veer, EL secretary General and composed of Laura Feliziani, Head of Brand Content & Consumer Engagement, IGT Lottery, Italy; Virginie Pasnin, Communications & CSR Manager, Lottotech, Mauritius; Julia Schneider, Advisor, Deutscher Lotto- und Totoblock, Germany; Piet Van Baeveghem, Executive Chair of the EL Legal & Regulatory Affairs WG, Belgium; Dries Poels, Head of Marketing, Nederlandse Loterij, the Netherlands.
It offered insights into initiatives that lotteries can implement where social and commercial aspects can be strategically linked and provide the competitive edge lotteries are looking for.
As an example, Feliziani showcased how digital platforms and in-store activities could bring value and create visibility for the operator. Pasnin gave various examples of how collaboration with stakeholders could help to change public perception about gaming, by using social causes to promote brands indirectly. Volunteering, in-store activation, a special Jackpot during lockdown for a good cause were simple and replicable actions that other lotteries could easily adapt to their countries.
How WLA helps to fight illegal operators
From another perspective, the ban on advertising is believed to potentially cause illegal betting. While research is still required to correlate the two variables, the World Lottery Association is dedicated to combatting illegal lottery operations around the world. Where possible, it provides materials and tools and advises its members on how to best fight unauthorized lotteries within the regulatory framework of their respective jurisdictions. This work is done by its Illegal Lotteries Betting Committee (ILBC).
The ILBC has developed the Overview of Illegal Lottery and Betting Operations, which provides country fact sheets on the legislative, judicial and commercial situation regarding bet-on lotteries and courier services in each country and is updated every two years.
In conclusion, lotteries faced with advertising bans must rethink their approach to advertising and communication given rapidly changing market dynamics which are demanding more responsibility and accountability. Self-regulation will definitely help lotteries create safer gambling environments and gain the trust of the public and authorities.