Navigating gambling advertising crackdowns


This is a guest contribution by Natalia Sketchley. If you would like to submit a contribution please contact Bill Beatty for submission details. Thank you.

navigating-gambling-advertising-crackdownsThis month, the European Commission stated no objections to new Spanish advertising restrictions on gambling brands, leading a path to one of the most restrictive crackdowns. Spain’s Consumer Affairs Minister, Alberto Garzón, wants to impose a near total-ban on gambling advertising, restricting ads on TV, radio, and online platforms to between 1 and 5am. In addition, gambling sponsorships of sports teams, leagues, and events will be banned (completely changing the landscape of La Liga), as well as welcome bonuses and celebrity endorsements.

And while this will only apply to Spain starting in October most likely, other countries may also start to consider similar legislation as they see an increase in iGaming and gambling due to the current pandemic. For example, Australia has seen a large spike in online gambling causing concern to a few in Parliament. The U.K. has also toyed with getting rid of betting logos on Premier League kits. And it’s not too far off field to think that others will look to Spain’s new legislation and monitor its successes and failures.

But where does this leave the industry? How can it survive such limiting conditions? Well, it will have to get creative. And quickly. Read below for some steps to consider in repositioning branding and digital marketing in the industry.

1. Re-think the brand

Brand recognition is key in attracting new players and retaining loyal customers. However, with these new restrictions business will not be as usual. You will have to rethink how to position yourself in the mainstream, as well as within the industry itself.

This is true even for more established brands with household name recognition. It’s never too late to reposition the brand and find new ways to reach out to loyal customers and find new ones based on data that you have. Using tools such as Google Analytics and Facebook Audiences you can build new target audiences to reach out to those segments. Look to see what else interests your target market and find a way to reach them there. This can be anything from video games and pop culture, to even more serious tech news.

Once you have some idea of the other potential interests, you can build campaigns and tailor outreach to those areas bringing your brand to new corners of markets you may not have thought to look in.

2. Re-think messaging

The main motive behind Spain’s strict legislation is not just to impede the rise of gambling in the country, it’s more so to do with sensitive and sensible marketing when dealing with a sensitive topic. So, while the bottom line is always the main priority, it still behooves operators and affiliates to find their own lane for sensitivity and make sure they, too, protect their customers.

Taking a position and building new content around safeguards and what other things can learn from playing slots could prove fruitful when mixed in with the rest of your marketing efforts. Rather than working against the current, work with it and you will see results.

This has proven successful in a recent campaign around digital payments that received coverage in the Swedish market despite its notoriously strict regulations. It was a campaign that was on a sensitive topic in a sensitive region, but when done right allowed the operator to get valuable coverage and information out there and improve brand visibility.

3. Re-think results

Digital marketing will not bring the same or direct ROI as traditional paid advertising channels. That being said, you will still reap the benefits of partnering your limited advertising options with digital marketing efforts and elude the 1am-5am limits (or any other timing restrictions imposed by other markets).

When embarking on a digital marketing campaign, patience is key, but you will see a rise in traffic and learn more about your customer base in the process and how they engage not only with the campaign but the rest of your site and, ultimately, your product. This will allow you to continue finetuning your product and marketing so that it sings for you moving forward.

If you allow for a new outlook and flexibility, any new restrictions and regulations will not be as overwhelming to navigate. Advertising and marketing always require creativity, but it’s where to focus that creative strategy to make sure visibility doesn’t suffer. It’s not enough to just do the same, but it is an opportunity to regroup and try different tactics.

To discuss any of the above, or to find out more about how a creative approach to digital marketing can help your brand navigate potential crackdowns, get in touch with our senior team.

About the author

Natalia Sketchley, Online PR Campaign Manager.