Assembly approves restrictions on gambling adverts in Portugal

The Portuguese Assembly has approved calls for a ban on gambling adverts during the day.
The Portuguese Assembly has approved calls for a ban on gambling adverts during the day.

Four separate bills proposed restrictions on the time of day that gambling adverts can be shown in Portugal.

Portugal.- The Portuguese Assembly has approved four bills that seek to ban gambling adverts from being shown during the day. The bills will now be sent to the Committee on Economy, Innovation, Works, Public and Housing for 60 days.

All four bills, which were introduced by the Left Bloc, PCP, PAN and non-registered deputy Cristina Rodrigues, proposed a ban on gambling and betting ads between the hours of 7am and 10.30pm. Alcoholic drinks are already subject to similar rules. 

The Left Bloc’s deputy Isabel Pires said its proposal aimed to “give the force of law to what has been understood as only a recommendation in the sector’s self-regulation agreement”.

The party also wants to extend restrictions to online formats, which it said “entail increased risks, and saw clear growth driven by the pandemic”.

In August, the national regulator Serviço de Regulação Inspeção de Jogos (SRIJ) reported that online gambling revenue in Portugal rose 81.9 per cent year-on-year in the second quarter to €125m.

Pires said: “We’re not innovating; we’re using methods that have been proven to help address the problem, and advertising is central.”

Meanwhile, PCP deputy Paula Santos said that when online gambling and betting was legalised in 2014, the executive led by the then prime minister Pedro Passos Coelho had created a “more permissive regime, where incitement and stimuli for online games and betting are possible”.

He said the PCP proposal aimed to “reduce stimuli”. The restrictions would also ban ads for lottery scratch cards in the same time window as other gambling products. The non-attached deputy Cristina Rodrigues said that Portugal spends more per capita on scratch cards than any other country in Europe.

She said: “We propose allowing this type of game to be advertised only after 10.30pm and until 7am. We also propose that the adverts for these games have a warning as to the fact that they are liable to create dependency, similar to what happens with tobacco packages.”

In the Netherlands, the national regulator De Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) has signed a protocol with media watchdog Commissariaat voor de Media (CdvM) in order to collaborate on the supervision of gambling ads.

Meanwhile, operators in Denmark have launched a new industry board to deal with complaints about adverts. The Gambling Advertising Board – Spilreklamenævnet in Danish – will allow both consumers and organisations to lodge complaints about gambling marketing.

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