Mr Green Christmas complaint upheld by Spilreklamenævnet

American Gaming Systems has been sued over alleged

Spilreklamenævnet, Denmark’s Gaming Advertisement Board, has ruled against Mr Green regarding an advertisement complaint shown in December 2020 before a family TV show. 

Revolving around a commercial for the William Hill-owned online casino operator, which was shown before the Juleønsket Christmas programme on the TV2 network, Spilreklamenævnet ruled by four votes to one, yet acknowledged that when purchasing the advertising space from the network provider Mr Green was informed that it was acquiring air time fitting into the 18+ and 21+ age categories.

In a statement, Spilreklamenævnet noted: “In this case, the gaming provider has not ensured that the gaming advertisement was not aimed at children and young people under the age of 18, and therefore we find that the marketing initiative was in breach of the rules on marketing in the Gaming Act and in the code of conduct for the gaming industry.”

Thomas Marcussen, Lars Pynt Andersen, Kate Jacquerot and Jacob Scherfig – Spilreklamenævnet board members – agreed with the complainant that adverts for the Juleønsket programme “must essentially be aimed at children and young people under the age of 18”.

“It is the gaming provider’s responsibility to ensure gambling advertisements are not aimed at audiences under the age of 18, and therefore ‘it is not sufficient to enter into an exposure agreement alone in the age category 18+ or 21+,” the four stated.

“As the defendant in this case has not ensured that the gaming advertisement was not aimed at children and young people under the age of 18, we find that the marketing initiative was in violation of the rules on marketing in the Gaming Act and in the Code of Conduct for the Gaming Industry. We thus vote in favour of the board expressing criticism of this.” 

However, the board members added that Mr Green’s advertising is no longer in violation of marketing rules or the Code of Conduct for the gaming industry.

On the contrary, Morten Rønde – the one dissenting board member – believed that Mr Green had “done what it could” to ensure its advertising was not aimed at children, noting: “I find that the defendant should not have foreseen – and that the defendant thus does not bear the responsibility for – that the advertisement was shown immediately prior to the ‘Christmas wish.’” 

According to the Danish Gaming Act, the marketing of games to young people under the age of 18 ‘through the choice of media or the context in which the marketing appears’ is prohibited.

The Board added: “As the marketing initiative in question has been permanently removed from the “Christmas wish”, the defendant’s marketing is no longer in conflict with the rules on marketing in the Gaming Act and in the Code of Conduct for the Gaming Industry. That is why the board otherwise takes note of the case. ”

The Spilreklamenævnet decision comes as Mr Green encounters further regulatory hurdles in the Nordic markets, having been fined SEK 31.5 million (€3m) by the Spelinspektionen – the Swedish gambling inspectorate – for failing to match its AML and customer care responsibilities.