Swedish TV4 broadcaster and Svenska Spel have been found to be in breach of the Radio and Television Act due to the free-to-air television program featuring gambling being deemed as advertising. This led to a complaint from BOS, the Swedish online gambling trade association.
As the Swedish Press and Broadcasting Authority explained: “Marketing must be designed and presented so that it is clear that it is marketing. According to the Radio and Television Act, there must be a special signature that clearly distinguishes the advertisements from the other content before and after each advertisement.
“Since there was no such signature that clearly distinguishes this advertisement from the other content, a violation has occurred. TV4 has therefore violated the provision on advertisement signature.”
Gustaf Hoffstedt, BOS secretary-general, said: “Today’s decision is a victory for thousands of Swedes who want to engage with the gambling market in a safe and regulated manner. There should be no confusion about what constitutes gambling advertising or special schemes that circumvent the statutory disclosure requirement for the 18+ age limit or information about the national problem gambling helpline. We are pleased that the Swedish Press and Broadcasting Authority has reached the same conclusion.
“The decision by the authority will help level the playing field on Sweden’s gambling market. By claiming that the keno and scratchcard segments did not constitute advertising, Svenska Spel was able to promote their monopoly products outside of regular advertising spots, gaining an unfair advantage over its competitors. We welcome today’s decision and hope it marks the end of covert advertising practices in the gambling market.”