On Tuesday (December 13) the Bulgarian Gaming Association (BGA) proposed stricter regulations for itself to curb underage gambling and protect the vulnerable.
The proposal was announced at the “Gambling Commerce in Media Services and Video Sharing Platform Services” roundtable organised by the Council for Electronic Media (CEM), the National Revenue Agency (NRA) and gambling industry trade groups.
The proposals include limiting advertising from gambling operators during broadcasts between 5am and 6pm and would come into effect on January 1.
Some members of the roundtable – whose names were not made public – cited concerns surrounding the increase in gambling among young people during the FIFA World Cup, calling it a motivation for the new restrictions.
The proposal also covers seven other points relating to advertising, notably a ban on mentioning the amount of money it is possible to win, including jackpots and other possible prizes. Advertisements must also include messaging about reasonable betting.
In addition, people under 23 years of age cannot appear in advertising and billboard ads cannot be located near schools.
The National Children’s Network (NCW) was in attendance, as were psychiatrists, who voiced their concern at the status quo and support for change. Dr. Tsveteslava Galabova, director of the NCW, told those in attendance that gambling addiction is particularly difficult to manage, as unlike other addictions or mental illnesses it cannot be treated with medicine.
Similarly, Georgi Bogdanov, the chairman of the NCW, applauded the effort but asked for stricter adherence to current regulations. Others present remain unimpressed and demanded a complete ban on gambling advertising altogether.
Members of the trade group Bulgarian Gambling Association (BGA) did agree to stop working with affiliate partners that use so-called aggressive wording to advertise and encourage gambling. Representatives at the roundtable from the industry said that such language came from affiliates and not licensed operators themselves when they agreed to cut ties. No further limitations were made on the specific use of language.
Officials from the BGA did not respond to a request for comment as of the writing of this article.