New rules for advertising games of chance

√     Adverts promoting games of chance will fall under the audiovisual restrictive rules for protection of minors
√     Advertising of betting is expressly allowed during live broadcasting of sports

On 25 June 2019, the Romanian National Audiovisual Council (“NAC”) published with the Official Gazette the Decision no. 614 of 11 June 2019 (“Decision no. 614/2019”) by which they amended the Audiovisual Code approved by Decision no. 220 of 24 February 2011 (“Audiovisual Code”). Decision no. 614/2019 entered into force on the same day.

  1. NEW RULES REGARDING ADVERTISING OF GAMES OF CHANCE

Under the former regime of the Audiovisual Code, all audiovisual programs containing games of chance have fallen under the restrictive rules for protection of minors.

Although it was not straightforward whether the above rule should also apply to advertising of games of chance, several (rather unclear) individual decisions of the NAC appeared to apply it, especially in what regards restrictions of broadcasting time slots.

Decision no. 614/2019 amends article 89 paragraph (3) of the Audiovisual Code in the sense that it clarifies that the restrictive rules for protection of minors will also apply to advertising of games of chance.

The new rule is softened by the express exemption regarding advertising of betting, which is now expressly allowed during live broadcasts of sports transmissions. It does not provide any restriction in terms of time slots when betting adverts might be broadcasted as long as they are transmitted under the mentioned conditions.

Also, the new rule applies to all types of betting, online and land-based, as opposed to the initial draft of the decision which only referred to the online sector.

  1. POTENTIAL ISSUES

While the recent amendments clarify that advertising will also fall under the restrictive rules for protection of minors provided by the Audiovisual Code, Decision no. 614/2019 still fails to provide the specific time slots when they are allowed when broadcasted during transmissions that are not sports related or live.

This may be the path to a mining field, as the past practice of NAC appeared to suggest that advertising of gambling after 23:00 might be allowed, while the rules for protecting minors under the Audiovisual Code rather suggest a time slot between 01:00 a.m. and 06:00 a.m.

Also, Decision no. 614/2019 does not provide the reasons for which it allowed advertising of betting under the mentioned conditions, but not of other types of games of chance. This may result in unjustified benefits for operators that mainly promote betting activities compared to players more focused on other types of games of chance.

 

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