In most countries, gambling is a perfectly legal pastime, yet it’s one that is heavily restricted by many local and federal authorities. The laws in regard to protecting children are perfectly understandable, of course, but there is a great deal of debate about the rights and wrongs of restrictions in regard to adults.
One of the fiercest debates of all is centred on whether gambling websites and betting shops can advertise and, if so, how often. There are restrictions in place in a number of European countries, but of course, there’s no quantifiable way to measure the success or failure of each nation’s regulations.
It’s interesting to note that in Italy gambling adverts are now banned completely, despite the fact that gambling itself is completely legal for adults. The law changes were a result of the decreto dignità, the dignity decree, which was introduced in 2018 to much fanfare.
In Spain, the country’s citizen’s rights advocate Francisco Fernández Marugán recently called for a blanket ban on gambling advertising, but his comments were not well received in the industry. Gambling is extremely popular in Spain, but the country has one of the lowest rates for problem gambling in the world. Opponents of Senor Marugán’s comments have been quick to point out that the country probably doesn’t need to restrict such advertising.
Shouldn’t we all be able to make our own decisions?
In Great Britain, gambling advertising must be made in a socially responsible manner, and it mustn’t be geared towards people aged under 18. All the online casinos in the UK need to be very careful with the way they promote themselves, or they risk hefty fines from the authorities.
It’s perhaps understandable for lawmakers to want to restrict such advertising, especially when there is the possibility that vulnerable individuals could be targeted, leading to further problems for those who struggle with a gambling addiction. But for the rest of society, is it right that responsible advertising and marketing campaigns are not permitted all the time?
One of the most important things to remember is that gambling can be an extremely enjoyable pastime. It can add a little spice to a sporting event for spectators both at the venue and at home in front of the TV and in the vast majority of cases people enjoy it without doing themselves any harm.
It seems a little strange to be restricting adverts for an activity that is completely legal for those who are old enough to take part in. Needless to say, there’s also a civil rights issue to take into consideration. After all, aren’t we all sensible enough to make our own informed decisions?