Swedish court clarifies legal requirements for gambling advertising

The Swedish Patent and Market Court has backed the Consumer Ombudsman and ruled that Global Gaming’s marketing of its Ninja Casino brand was in breach of the country’s gambling legislation.

Last December, Global Gaming’s Maltese subsidiary Elec Games was taken to court by the Consumer Ombudsman (Konsumentombudsmannen), which deemed Ninja Casino’s marketing at the time to be in breach of legislation requiring moderation in gambling advertising.

In its ruling late last week, the court supported the Ombudsman’s opinion and found the marketing messages used at that time to be lacking in moderation. This included a take-over ad for Ninja Casino on a newspaper website, where the reader had to actively click away the ad to get to the site.

The court also prohibited claims made by the operator, such as "Winnings in your bank account in five minutes - completely without registration", "Clockwise the way to gold" and "PLAY NOW!"

Consumer Ombudsman process council Gunnar Wikström said that the judgment would send a clear signal to the gaming industry.

“The law is generally held in terms of the requirement of moderation in the marketing of games,” said Wikström. “Therefore, it has been necessary for us to turn to the court to have the concept of moderation tested; what not to do. There we have now received clear messages.”

Global Gaming CEO Tobias Fagerlund said that the decision clarifies the legal requirements for gambling advertising.

“Clarity as to how the court views requirements for moderation in advertising is a step in the right direction,” he said. “At the same time, I think it is unfortunate that our brand alone should be made responsible for marketing messages that were widely used in the industry at that time.

“It remains to be seen whether the legislator considers that the ruling sufficient or chooses to further tighten the requirements for moderation through legislation.”

With Ninja Casino no longer active in the Swedish market, the ruling does not have any direct impact on the company’s operations.

Global Gaming said that its legal advisors are currently reviewing the ruling and considering whether there is reason to appeal it.

Shares in Global Gaming AB (STO:GLOBAL) were trading up 1.88 per cent at SEK6.52 per share in Stockholm earlier Monday.

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