Lawmakers from the Republic of Armenia may be looking to introduce significant changes to the country’s gambling advertising laws.
Initiative in Armenia Proposes to Restrict Gambling Advertising
A newly endorsed initiative may significantly change the way gambling companies advertise in Armenia. On Wednesday this week, a new proposal was introduced during a sitting of the Standing Committee on Economic Affairs. The proposal seeks to introduce common policies that would ensure that there are equal competition conditions within the gambling field.
RA Minister of Finance Armen Hayrapetyan, who is a key rapporteur, revealed that the proposal calls to restrict advertising to hotels with 4-stars or higher. Other eligible places for advertising besides hotels would be border checkpoints, as well as “the front part of the buildings carrying out similar activities.”
“At January 12 sitting of the Standing Committee on Economic Affairs, the initiative of the Government aimed at ensuring common policy in the field of gambling and establishing equal competition conditions and requirements was debated in the first reading,”reads a statement released by the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia
However, under the current proposal, gambling advertising would be banned in other places. The new proposal follows a similar pattern that is already adopted in other countries such as Georgia, the Czech Republic, Estonia and Latvia.
Opponents of the Initiative Raise Concerns
Advertising agents have raised concerns in light of the new proposal. According to them, the initiative has caused “dissatisfaction in the field of advertising media.” Moreover, advertisers have raised concerns that some 60%-70% of the revenue of advertising companies comes from online games and lotteries.
In contrast, Hayrapetyan disagreed with those calculations. According to him, only 20% to 25% of the advertisers’ revenues are fueled by gambling companies and lotteries.
Why Ban Advertising?
Banning advertising isn’t a new concept for countries around the world. While gambling remains a billion-dollar industry annually, some countries disagree with the constant gambling ads that TV viewers or mobile devices users see daily.
Aiming at enhancing player protection, some countries implement strict advertising bans such as the whistle-to-whistle ban on betting advertising in the Netherlands. In fact, back in December, the gambling regulator in the country, the Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), warned one of the operators after it found that betting ads were promoted online during soccer matches in play.
Other countries such as Australia have taken a different approach. Back in 2020, the Office of Responsible Gambling in the country has launched an initiative dubbed Reclaim the Game. Aiming at “normalization of sports betting and advertising,” the initiative seeks to raise awareness of gambling harms. Moreover, a key goal of the initiative is to help sports fans enjoy sports without gambling sponsorships or advertising.