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A new study by the European Union’s Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) has found a significant reduction in advertising from major gambling brands on websites and mobile apps which infringe on intellectual property rights (IPR). The study found, during 2021, advertising from major gambling brands – including European Gambling and Betting Association (EGBA) members – had decreased by 55 per cent on IPR-infringing websites in the EU, despite overall advertising from all sectors increasing by 26 per cent.

The study analysed the amount and type of online advertising found on IPR-infringing websites and apps in the EU, such as streaming sites for sports, movies or tv shows. These websites and apps generate revenue by selling advertising space and, according to EUIPO, advertising from legitimate brands can be placed on these websites or apps unintentionally because of the “very complex internet advertising ecosystem”. The presence of advertising for brands on IPR-infringing websites and apps can confuse consumers and mislead them to believe that the content provided on these websites or apps is legal.

On IPR-infringing websites, EUIPO found a significant 55 per cent decrease – from 18 per cent in Q1 to eight per cent in Q4  – in major gambling brand advertising during 2021, which follows a previous 20 per cent decrease in 2020. The study also found that, in 2021, advertising from all gambling brands – including major brands and other brands – had decreased marginally on IPR-infringing websites, from 28 per cent in Q1 to 25 per cent in Q4. In terms of mobile apps, gambling accounted for less than 1 per cent of advertising impressions for apps.

EGBA welcomes the progress made in recent years to reduce the placement of advertising from major gambling brands, including EGBA members, on IPR-infringing websites and apps. However, EGBA recognises that, with gambling representing 25 per cent of advertising impressions on IPR-infringing websites, there is still more work to be done by the entire gambling sector to ensure its advertising does not support IPR-infringing online content.

In recent years, EGBA has been working closely with the European Commission and various cross-industry stakeholders, at EU-level, within the framework of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) which aims to limit IPR-infringing online advertising. The MoU is a voluntary agreement and is facilitated and coordinated by the European Commission. The MoU is open to all partners and EGBA encourages gambling operators to join EGBA and its members in signing up to the MoU and its aims.

Maarten Haijer, Secretary General of the EGBA comments:

“I’m pleased to see consistent and significant, year-on-year progress by Europe’s major gambling brands, including our members, to reduce the placement of advertising on IPR-infringing websites and apps. But there is still more work to do, and we encourage Europe’s gambling operators, and their advertising affiliates, to play their part by ensuring their advertising, and its placement, is conducted in a responsible way. We look forward to continuing our cooperation with the European Commission and other stakeholders, at EU-level, to reduce IPR-infringing online advertising.”

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