Denmark’s gambling regulator urges operators to comply with advertising rules and avoid misusing the term ‘free’ in bonus offers
The Danish Gambling Authority, Spillemyndigheden, warned Monday locally licensed gambling companies over the use of the word ‘free’ when advertising bonus offers. The regulatory body further elaborated that the use of the word violates the Danish Marketing Practices Act when a bonus offer involves a turnover requirement.
Under Denmark’s Executive Order on Online Casino, section 20(1)(1), and Executive Order on Betting, section 19(1)(1), licensed gambling operators offering bonuses to their customers are obligated to state clearly the terms and conditions of the offer directly alongside it.
In a statement issued on its official website on Monday, Spillemyndigheden also referred to a statement made by the Danish Consumer Ombudsman in February 2016 according to which the use of the word ‘free’ was misleading when a bonus offer involved a turnover requirement or “impaired the chance of winning.”
In other words, if a gaming operator promotes a bonus offer that promises gamblers 100 free spins but requires a minimum deposit of $25, this is considered a misleading offer under Danish gambling advertising rules.
The Denmark Gambling Authority went on to explain that the same applies to terms such as ‘free of charge’, ‘free spins’, and ‘free bets’. The regulator said Monday that the use of such terms implies that and misleads customers that the offer is actually free and does not involve any limitations when the reality might be different.
All those terms can be used when the offer promoted does not include a turnover requirement and does not reduce gamblers’ chance to win, Spillemyndigheden said Monday.
A New Code of Conduct
The Denmark Gambling Authority’s remarks arrive amid preparations for the enforcement of a new Code of Conduct within the regulated Danish gambling space. News emerged earlier this year that locally licensed companies, both online and land-based ones, have agreed to adopt a voluntary code that would limit their advertising practices and would require them to implement better policies for the protection of gamblers.
The new Code of Conduct is set to take effect on July 1, 2019. It is aimed at protecting children and vulnerable people from the risks associated with exposure to gambling and engaging in gambling practices.
The Code involves a ban on tapping celebrities as ambassadors of a gambling brand or product. In addition, operators will be required to refrain from advertising their offering as something that can help people resolve their financial problems.
Licensed companies will also look to reduce the volume of gambling ads on television and will adopt tools and polices that will place limitations on online and social media marketing campaigns.
Denmark could also follow UK’s suit in implementing a ban on gambling ads during live sporting event broadcasts. Last year, UK-licensed operators agreed to a voluntary “whistle-to-whistle” ban on gambling ads during live sports in a bid to address growing concerns over the impact of advertising campaigns on children and vulnerable people.
Early this year, the CEO of Danske Spil, the company that held the monopoly over gambling before the liberalization of the Danish market in 2012, suggested that the Scandinavian country implement a similar whistle-to-whistle ban on all adverts during broadcasts.