Portugal Contemplating All-Day Ban on Gambling Advertising

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The concept of prohibiting ads related to gambling isn’t new – several countries already have similar protocols in place. Portugal could be the next to join them and approval of strict limitations on when gambling ads can be aired is almost a guarantee. Four separate bills have been presented to lawmakers in the country, all of which essentially look for the same outcome.

Gambling Ad Ban Coming to Portugal

By restricting who can see gambling ads and where, lawmakers believe they will be able to reduce the potential for gambling addiction. Some UK lawmakers are behind one of the strictest controls of gambling ads in the world, but they’re not alone. Italy, the Netherlands and others are introducing similar policies, and even Australia’s gaming operator Tabcorp thinks there should be more restrictions down under.  

According to Portuguese media outlet The Portugal News, the country’s Assembly has seen four separate bills on gambling ad restrictions. They were submitted by the Left Bloc, PAN, PCP and Cristina Rodrigues, a non-registered deputy. All four are worded similar and look to have a ban on gambling advertising implemented that would run daily from 7 AM until 10:30 PM. One difference is found in the bill introduced by the Left Block, which also wants to ban ads on instant lotteries and scratch-off tickets.

Left Bloc Deputy Isabel Pires explains that the party wants to “give the force of law to what has been understood as only a recommendation in the sector’s self-regulation agreement.” She adds that the ban would also apply online and would include “restrictions to the online format, which entails increased risks, and which had clear growth driven by the pandemic.”

More Ad Restrictions Coming Everywhere

In Portugal, until now, there has been an unwritten rule through which gaming operators were expected to be responsible with their advertisements. The goal with the new legislation is to make that unwritten rule law and reduce “stimuli, in particular for people, regarding gambling and betting,” according to PCP Deputy Paula Santos. The increase in online gaming has not brought with it an increase in responsible advertising, according to the lawmaker, forcing the government to now intervene.

Portugal has several strict advertising policies in place already and the gambling ad ban won’t find a lot of resistance among lawmakers. Currently, alcoholic beverage manufacturers can not enter branding agreements with sports teams and no alcohol ads are allowed on radio or TV during the same period specified in the gambling ad ban proposals. Also like alcohol ads, the gambling ads that would be allowed would need to carry a warning about the health and addiction risks associated with the activity.

This isn’t the first time that gambling ad restrictions have been discussed in Portugal – the topic came up last year to introduce limitations, as well. Now, however, there is greater support due to the increase in online gaming activity, which has received a lot of attention this year, and passage of the legislation is not going to be difficult.

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