CODE OF CONDUCT – THE NORWEGIAN TRADE ASSOCIATION FOR ONLINE GAMING

 

1. Introduction

The code of conduct seeks to ensure a consistent offering of online gambling to address the potential risks associated with gambling for consumers whilst ensuring a level playing field between gambling operators.The members of the Trade Association offer their services on an international market and to an international audience. The code of conduct will to ensure that Norwegian customers are guaranteed an appropriate level of protection.

For the majority of customers, gambling is an entertainment and a leisure activity. However, some customers do develop gambling problems. Gambling operators have therefore a particular responsibility to take all reasonable steps to minimize the potential harmful effects of gambling. The purpose of this code is to enhance the protection of consumers, and to help ensure that gambling does not morph from entertainment into addiction.

Gambling is a leisure activity for adults. The code will also ensure that children under 18 do not gain access to gambling activities.

Members of the Trade Association agree to comply with the code of conduct. The code should be regarded as a benchmark and as a set of minimum requirements for its members. Individual gambling operators may go beyond the stipulations contained in the code.

The code supplements legislation already applicable to member companies in their respective licensing jurisdictions.

 

  1. Responsible gaming

Gambling shall be delivered responsibly in a framework which ensures that it’s fair, safe and secure for the customer, across the different gambling forms and platforms for distribution. Particular attention is to be given to ensuring protection of the vulnerable. To this end gambling operators shall have in place policies and procedures to promote responsible gambling.

Member companies shall take a dynamic approach to measures adopted to prevent problem gambling. They shall maintain procedures on the identification, detection and actions to take with regards to problem gamblers, including through the use of monitoring systems which analyze individual customer behavior with the intention of identifying problem gamblingas well as procedures on customer interaction particularly where they are concerns indicating problem gambling.

Member companies shall comply with the following measures:

  • No possibility for un-registered participation in gambling offers;
  • Shall display the following information prominently on their website: a sign that indicates that underage gambling is not permissible and a responsible gambling message which provides that gambling is harmful if it is not controlled and information about customer support measures;
  • Shall have and put into effect policies and procedures to prevent minors from making use of their gambling services and, or from holding an account.
  • Customer service functions offering advice on responsible gambling which are easily accessible both online or via personal contact, to help customers in all matters related to participation in gambling offers.
  • Employment of an officer especially dedicated to and with extensive knowledge of, responsible gambling with an overarching responsibility to oversee the undertaking of measures to prevent problem gambling.
  • Employees working directly with customers shall be periodically trained in responsible gambling procedures and be given an understanding on how to detect and identify problem gambling.
  • In order to increase the customers’ awareness of their expenditure of time and money, gambling providers shall make the following information readily available and easily accessible to the customer: the balance on the customers’ account and relevant currency and the ability to access the customers gambling history including total deposits, withdrawals and winnings.
  • In order to further assist customers, gambling providers shall also make readily available customer service functions; helplines or means to contact organizations providing assistance in respect of gambling disorders.
  • Gambling operators that offer repetitive games of chance played against the house, the outcome of which is determined by a random generator, must provide customers with the possibility of requesting an alert at certain intervals in time. Such alert shall provide customers with statistics of the amount of time which the customer has spent playing so far, information regarding their winnings and losses during such period of time. The messages must subsequently be acknowledged by the customer, who, in addition to acknowledging the message, must be given the opportunity to either stop or continue playing.
  • The possibility for customers to undertake self-evaluation tests of their playing behavior and patterns.
  • Mandatory for operators to provide customers with the possibility to choose cooling off periods and to make available to customers, at all times, a simple and secure procedure for self-exclusion. These tools should be accessible via the individual customer`s account and settings.
  • Customers who are self-excluded shall not receive e-mail or SMS from the gambling operator with an incitement to gamble again. Such communication may only be resumed when a period of self-exclusion is over.
  • Customers must be offered and encouraged to set stake or deposit limits.
  • All accounts belonging to customers who admit to being problem gamblers shall be closed immediately by the license holder.
  • Shall include responsible gambling information which is to be permanently visible on the website and a clear link and point to sources that give more detailed information e.g. National Helplines and other treatment agencies that may advise on problem gambling on all distribution platforms, where applicable.

 Companies must constantly review the effects of measures implemented and update their procedures accordingly.

In addition, the Trade Association considers that it would be useful to have a central national tool for self-exclusion. The Association admits that this it is difficult for the industry to achieve this on our own accord, due to,interalia,data protection issues. The Association wishes therefore to enter a dialogue with the Norwegian Gaming Authority with the intention to undertake the establishment of such a central national tool for self-exclusion.

 

  1. Marketing of gambling services

3.1 General rules for marketing

Marketing are central elements in the promotion of gambling services with the intention to draw those, who wish to engage in gambling activities, towards safe and socially responsible offers. This is an important presupposition for the undertaking of a comprehensive channeling policy. In addition, marketing has the function as an information channel between operators and customers.

Concerns have been expressed that marketing for gambling services may lead customers to gambling offers that may entail problematic gambling. In order to enhance social responsibility in the design of marketing for gambling services, the Trade Association has drawn up a code with the intention to increase the responsibility of the gambling operators’ marketing of games. This is to be undertaken by establishing frameworks and tools, in order to enhance the protection of consumers and to help ensure that gambling does not morph from entertainment into addiction. The code encompasses all forms of communication or activity via TV, internet, social media and print media that promotes gambling or brands, and sets out the following rules which members must comply to.

The marketing of gambling services must:

  • Be socially responsible, and incorporate a particular emphasis on protecting children, young people and vulnerable audiences from harm or exploitation.
  • Include an “18+” or “Minimum age 18” or equivalent message for participation
  • Not be done to falsely imply that where official brand ambassadors are used, taking part in gambling has contributed to their success.
  • Not convey the impression that taking part in gambling will generate a solution for financial problems or increase the customer’s social acceptance.
  • Not show or encourage socially irresponsible gambling behavior that might lead to financial, social or emotional harm
  • Not suggest that gambling permits an escape from personal, professional or educational problems such as loneliness or depression
  • Not inappropriately exploit the weaknesses, credulity, inexperience or insufficiency of knowledge of vulnerable individuals
  • Not show gambling as something that is either indispensable or takes precedence in one’s life, e.g. is more important than family, friends or professional or educational obligations
  • Not connect games with seduction, sexual success or enhanced attractiveness
  • Not suggest that solitary gambling is preferable to social games

Not exploit cultural beliefs regarding gambling or luck

  • Present the chance of winning in a correct and balanced manner which does not create the impression that the likelihood of winning is greater than it actually is
  • Not encourage customers to chase their losses via participating in new games.
  • Not be unreasonably intrusive or aggressive. Upon assessing if marketing is unreasonably intrusive or aggressive one must take consideration to the form, use of sound, content animation or other living pictures and context otherwise.
  • Not be sent to active/registered customers via e-mails or SMS without prior consent. The requirement for prior consent does not apply to operational messages to customers pursuant to customer agreements.

 

  • Not be sent to persons who have self-excluded themselves from participating in gambling offers.

 

3.2 Responsible-gambling message

It is good practice to include a responsible-gambling message in all marketing where practicable, and such a message is a requirement for all gambling commercials on TV.

A responsible-gambling message is intended to encourage the individual user to be moderate and to be aware of the extent of their own gambling. The message can be formulated in many ways, and some wordings may be subject to copyright. Some examples of suitable wording are “Gamble carefully”, “Gamble for fun, not to win”, “Don’t let the gambling play you”, “Winners know when to stop.”

 

Since there are many forms of marketing and marketing channels, it is difficult to lay down precise requirements for how a responsible-gambling message should be presented. However, it should be ensured that the message is displayed in such a way that the recipient is made aware of it.

 

3.3 Measures to prevent marketing of gambling services targeting minors

The marketing of gambling services should not target children and young people below 18 in terms either of the format of the communication or the choice of medium. Furthermore, young people under 18 shall not be used in advertisements In addition entail logos and/or marketing messages for gambling providers shall not appear on merchandise targeted at or designed for children.

 

Taking into account that children and young people under 18 primarily receive marketing messages via the Web and social media rather than from live TV broadcasts, gambling operators must make use of suitable data tools and the data they have available about their customers when advertising on the web and on social media, in order to avoid marketing to this group of individuals. When marketing on social media that enables screening for the user’s age (eg Twitter) or age restricted content (eg YouTube), gambling providers must use that opportunity to ensure that marketing material is not displayed to children or young people under 18.

 

  1. Measures to counteract criminal activities

Member companies shall implement a policy to act upon suspicion of fraud, transactions that may have a connection to money laundering and match fixing, and other criminal activities. Companies must employ an officer especially dedicated the undertaking of measures to counteract such activities. All employees shall be made aware of their personal responsibilities with regard to detecting and reporting suspicious behavior, and their duties to report this to the dedicated officer.

 

  • All members are obliged to carry out suitable know your customer checks at the latest when the customer have deposited or withdrawn 2,000 euros.
  • All members shall, using a risk-based approach, have policies and procedures in place to carry out suitable source of fund and source of wealth checks.

 

  1. Follow and audit

The wording of the code of conduct focuses on the most common forms of marketing, including internet, social and print media and TV advertising. Technological developments are enabling new marketing channels to be developed all the time. Wherever possible, the intentions and principles of the code should also be interpreted as applying to new media and consumer-targeted channels.

The Code will be evaluated and revised regularly – at least once a year as a minimum. The evaluation and audit will be conducted by the Trade Association, if necessary, in co-operation with third parties.

 

  1. Compliance

The Trade Association will establish routines to ensure compliance with the code of conduct, and to deal with cases and complaints regarding breach of the provisions in the code.

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