The Swedish Patent and Market Court has deemed Global Gaming’s Ninja Casino to be in violation of advertising moderation regulations after it utilized full-screen pop-up ads.
Operators must fulfill legal requirements for moderation when it comes to gambling promotions. The court ruled in favor of the Consumer Ombudsman, who contended that the ad at the casino violated the Swedish Gaming Act.
During the proceeding, the Ombudsman argued that the pop-up advertisement made by Ninja Casino violated Section 47 of the Swedish Gaming Act. This section specifically states that moderation must be observed when marketing gambling products to consumers. However, the act does not cite moderation in more detail.
Over 20 complaints involving the ad were forwarded to the gambling watchdog, Spelinspektionen. The Ninja Casino ad, which is being called a takeover ad, appeared on tabloid news site Aftonbladet.
The Consumer Ombudsman, whose function is to investigate complaints as an independent and impartial party, concluded that the advertisement is intrusive and its content likely to promote gambling in an extreme manner. The ad’s focus was thought to be the ease of depositing and withdrawing funds, as well as the ability to win large jackpots.
The ombudsman stressed:
“Claims about quick payments and the ease of use could lead to consumers making unwise decisions on starting or continuing to gamble.”
It continued that the call to “Play Now” in the ad targets the more vulnerable consumer. References to “success tactics” used in the ad were believed to imply a level of skill that was not truthful.
Global Gaming’s Maltese subsidiary Elec Games argued that the Gaming Act advertising requirements do not refer to the way an ad is presented. The company believes the Ninja Casino ad to be lawful and not in any way functioning in violation of the Gaming Act.
According to Elec Games, the moderation requirement is directed towards the marketing content and the design of the ad, not how it is presented in technical form. The company claimed that the ad did not overstress the chances of winning large jackpots and made no reference to how likely a player is to win a jackpot.
Despite the dispute by Elec Games, the court said that the ad is in takeover format. It was not considered moderate as a possible consumer must engage with the ad to be able to view the website they are visiting.
Alexander Ramsay, a court chairman, said a consumer in the focus group that has trouble setting gambling limits may want to elude such situations that expose them to content that would encourage them to play. This takeover ad showing up via a non-gaming site like Aftonbladet is hard to avoid and could be triggering.