A range of gambling industry stakeholders in France have agreed to rein in advertising and sign-up offers as the FIFA World Cup quickly approaches.
With around a week to go until the opening game on November 16, a series of four charters have been signed by the gambling regulator (ANJ), the advertising watchdog (ARCOM) and all licensed gambling operators, aimed at moderating advertising pressures and promoting responsible gambling.
ARCOM is responsible for revising the first two charters, which cover television and radio advertising, to apply the ANJ’s recent recommendation of reducing the limit of gambling adverts per advertising window from four to three.
When asked if the charters are legally binding, a spokesperson for the ANJ said that “during the annual review of operators' promotional strategies, the ANJ will be able to assess the actions implemented to reduce advertising pressure on all media channels and better protect minors and vulnerable audiences”.
VIXIO GamblingCompliance has seen a copy of the four charters; however, at the time of writing, they were not yet publicly available. They came into effect on November 7.
ANJ chairperson Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin said: “The signing of these charters in a spirit of co-regulation is a strong signal from all the players concerned to promote responsible advertising. The period ahead of us is crucial because it will allow everyone to verify that advertising in the gambling sector has changed and that the commitments made are respected.”
One charter looks to halt operators from advertising “in the immediate vicinity of schools” or addiction treatment centres, as well as limiting adverts at public transport stations.
Instead, “they will make spaces available to the ANJ to deploy poster campaigns to prevent the risk of excessive gambling”, according to the regulator.
A separate charter agreed upon by members of the French Alliance of Digital Industries deemed to be “advertising professionals (AFNUM) and “gambling operators” makes it possible “to better control the commercial communications of operators published on social networks, platforms, mobile applications, websites, as well as those of influencers and ambassadors”.
Operators will also “protect minors from advertising on gambling and not … exert advertising pressure on vulnerable audiences, in particular young people and excessive gamblers”.
The charters are part of the ANJ's long-held plan to better moderate advertising exposure, following the experience of the Euro 2020 football tournament in 2021, after which public and political concerns were raised about the proliferation of gambling adverts, sign-up offers and bonuses around the competition.
Concerns surrounding advertising led to a call on the gambling industry to “de-intensify” all forms of advertising in February 2022, alongside releasing a series of new advertising guidelines and recommendations.
France is not alone in its World Cup advertising proliferation concerns.
In a press release on October 31, 2022, the Netherlands Gambling Authority (KSA) revealed that it had sent letters to licence holders asking them to apply a degree of moderation ahead of the tournament.