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Social advertising by CRGL - why is it needed and why is it important?


Gambling advertising is always a hot topic. A good example are the latest initiatives to  restrict gambling  advertising, including legal gambling. The negative consequences of this decision will soon be felt by both the legal gambling industry and the media market, as it creates too favorable conditions for illegal gambling operators. However, some government initiatives in the field of gambling advertising are still positive. In particular, we are talking about the recent initiative of CRGL to place social advertising about gambling in several cities of Ukraine. It was intended to draw public attention to the problem of gambling in illegal casinos.

The issue of gambling advertising has been one of the most controversial since the legalization of the gambling business in 2020. As soon as gambling organizers started placing outdoor and online advertising, there were statements that there was too much of it and it should be either regulated or banned.

No separate legislation on gambling advertising was adopted, despite the fact that back in 2021, the largest legal gambling organizers even took the initiative to self-regulate by signing the relevant Memorandum on Advertising. The provisions of this document could have formed the basis of the relevant regulatory legislation. However, this did not happen for many reasons, including opposition from certain individuals interested in preserving the illegal gambling market.

Today, we see that certain government officials have managed to lobby for significant restrictions on legal gambling under the pretext of fighting gambling. This is likely to lead to the opposite effect, when illegal gamblers will have essentially unlimited freedom to advertise their services online through dubious websites and Telegram channels, while legal casinos will not be able to advertise their services in official media.

However, there is also positive news on the gambling advertising market. Recently, CRGL launched social outdoor advertising across the country about the dangers of playing on illegal gambling websites. Since the legalization of gambling, this is probably the largest  information  campaign aimed against illegal gambling. Such initiatives are important for at least three reasons.

1. Informing the public about the main risks of playing on illegal websites. The main messages of the advertising campaign remind people of the important risks of playing on illegal websites, including financing of the aggressor state, lack of guarantees of payout of winnings, and use of personal data of players for criminal purposes.

2. A reminder that there is a significant difference between legal and illegal online gambling. Such advertising is another reminder to players that they should distinguish between legal and illegal gambling and spend an extra 3-5 minutes to understand what kind of website they are playing on. This will allow you to avoid a lot of problems in the future.

3. Preventing the strengthening of illegal gambling in Ukraine. Widespread publicity of the negative consequences of playing on illegal online platforms is intended to reduce the number of players on them, and thus to the gradual decline of the illegal gambling business.

Undoubtedly, a single advertising campaign, even a large-scale one, will not solve the problem of a large number of illegal gambling operators and will not help fight gambling addiction. However, the existence of such initiatives generally indicates that the regulator understands that the media fight should be waged against illegal companies, but not licensed gambling organizers that pay billions in taxes and license fees to the budget every year. It is hoped that, in addition to KRAIL, this understanding will come to those in power who promote initiatives like 9256-d, which harm rather than help develop the legal gambling market in Ukraine.

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