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The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) has welcomed the 55% decrease in advertising from major gambling brands in the EU being placed on websites which infringe upon intellectual property rights.

The reduction was reported by the European Union’s Intellection Property Office (EUIPO) in a new study. The study found, during 2021, advertising from major gambling brands – including EGBA members – had decreased by 55% on IPR-infringing websites in the EU, despite overall advertising from all sectors increasing by 26%.

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”.

According to EUIPO, 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 sites is legal.

On IPR-infringing websites, EUIPO found a significant 55% decrease – from 18% in Q1 to 8% in Q4 – in major gambling brand advertising during 2021, which follows a previous 20% 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% in Q1 to 25% in Q4. In terms of mobile apps, gambling accounted for less than 1% of advertising impressions for apps.

The EGBA welcomed 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 recognised that, with gambling representing 25% 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, the trade association has worked 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 facilitated and coordinated by the European Commission, and is open to all partners. EGBA encouraged gambling operators to join the association and its members “in signing up to the MoU and its aims.”

“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,” Maarten Haijer, Secretary-General of EGBA, said.