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Kevin Smith

The IGC's Advertising Code of Practice

7 November 2003

In an effort to improve the public image of the industry, the Interactive Gaming Council is drafting a set of standards for advertising I-gaming services.

The association's Advertising Code of Practice is designed to give operators a guide for promoting and operating their sites and improving their perception among players.

For five years online gambling services have been among the Internet's advertising leaders. Gaming sites have lived and died by the effectiveness of banner advertisements and pop-up ads.

Relying too heavily on pop-up advertising and unsolicited e-mail, or spam, can backfire.

John Rizzi, CEO of e-Dialog, a precision e-mail marketing service and technology firm, said a handful of industries have bad reputations among consumers because of their marketing efforts.

"Interactive gaming is an industry that has a black eye," Rizzi said. "There are just too many cases of over-the-top spams and pop-ups that a lot of consumers are skeptical of the industry as a whole."

The new IGC code is intended as a step toward reversing this. The code is in a draft form, but the IGC would like to have a final version of the document in place and operating by year's end.

IGC Deputy Director Keith Furlong hopes the draft code will get the association's membership discussing the issues and create a dialogue that will benefit operators and consumers.

"We wanted to get the code out there to give some guidance to operators because the perception with the pop-up ads and the spam e-mail is very negative," he said. "We wanted to give guidance to the operators that want to be responsible and let them know that they shouldn't do certain types of activities."

Furlong acknowledged that no matter what kind of codes and recommendations are in place, there will always be those that don't follow them. The only retribution is the effect on a site's standing with the association, but he is convinced the code is an important step for the industry and that legitimate operators will be more than willing to come on board.

"The responsible operators probably already have something in place that prevents them from being associated with annoying pop-up ads and spam e-mail," Furlong said. "Other operators will hopefully take a look at it and implement some of the recommendations into whatever policy they already have in place."

In the end, he added, it could be consumers who make the difference.

"Consumers are in a unique spot with this industry," he said. "They can take a stand against those operators who use unfavorable advertising practices and send a clear message to other operators that only legitimate advertising will work. They have the power to put those unregulated and irresponsible operators out of business by only playing at sites that don't follow these industry standards."

The IGC's draft Advertising Code of Practice includes the following recommendations:


The Web site of an interactive gambling operator should contain the following:

  1. the name of the operator and the address of its registered office;

  2. contact information (e.g. telephone, real-time and/or e-mail) for resolving customer complaints and disputes;

  3. a statement identifying the jurisdiction from which the interactive gambling is conducted, preferably with a link/contact for the licensing jurisdiction for dealing with consumer complaints;

  4. information about the type of license held by the operator and which authorizes the conduct of the interactive gambling business;

  5. link(s) to, or information about, the IGC's Helping Hand program or like problem/compulsive gambling service resources;

  6. clear information about the player registration process and deposit/withdrawal processes including timeliness of payments;

  7. Clear information about the requirements for any promotional campaign, including a link to the rules established for each specific promotion;

  8. Clear wording that persons under the age of 18, or such other age of majority in the appropriate jurisdiction, are not permitted to register or to participate in interactive gambling;

  9. where available, the regulations of the jurisdiction within which the site is operating should be readily accessible; and

  10. information about the site's payout percentages (if applicable, for example, casino-style games), instructions on play and dispute resolution should be readily accessible.


  1. Advertising should not be false or misleading and deceptive, particularly with regard to winning, and should be based on fact.

  2. Advertisements should be in good taste, not offend prevailing community standards and not focus on minors or be displayed at sites frequented by minors.

  3. Advertisements should not portray people in a stereotyped or demeaning fashion with respect to age, sex, sexual orientation, race or disability.

  4. Advertisements should readily identify the person/site for which the advertising is performed.

  5. The target audience will be people of 18 years and over, or such other age of majority in the appropriate jurisdiction, and media selection and placement will be in accordance with applicable media Code of Practice.

  6. Advertisements should not contain any material in breach of intellectual property rights.

  7. An operator should not knowingly engage in the distribution of unsolicited advertising (i.e. SPAM) either directly or through a third party. E-mail advertising should have an unsubscribe, or opt-out, facility.

  8. Advertisements should not provide opinion as to the legality in any jurisdiction other than the jurisdiction in which the operator is licensed. It may be beneficial to use language supplied by the regulators in the subject jurisdiction rather than the operator attempting to construe the applicable laws.

  9. The advertising of interactive gambling should not be associated with excessive consumption of alcohol or drugs.

  10. Advertisements should not contain a misrepresentation that is likely to cause damage to the business or goodwill of another person.

  11. An operator should make a best effort to ensure that a third party performing advertising on their behalf abides by this Code.

  12. An operator should conduct business in a manner that generally upholds/preserves and maintains a positive reputation of the interactive gambling industry as a whole.

The IGC's Advertising Code of Practice is republished from
Kevin Smith
Kevin Smith