New studies by the Universities of Vienna and Munich criticize gambling advertising by Austrian monopolists!

In the study of the University of Vienna on the topic “Effect of gambling advertising of the Austrian monopolists on consumers” – with the help of a qualitative content analysis and a (representative) population survey – the effect of the advertising of the monopolists (CASAG, ÖLG) between 2009 and 2019 is analyzed. In the study, the University of Vienna comes to the conclusion that the current advertising activities of the Austrian gambling monopolists create a strong incentive to gamble through various strategies. This influences recipients – regardless of whether they regularly participate in gambling or not – in their attitudes and intentions to act and entices them to gamble: “The analyses in PROCESS show that all advertising effects on attitudes and gambling intentions occur independently of the gambling behavior of the recipients. (…). It concludes that advertising affects infrequent or regular gamblers in the same way compared to those who do not gamble”. This means that the monopolist’s advertising also entices non-gamblers to gamble.

The fact that this is also legally relevant is shown by a second expert opinion on the “Compatibility of the advertising strategy of the Austrian gambling monopolists with European Union law” from the University of Munich. This proves that the approach pursued by the Austrian supreme courts, according to which an “overall assessment of all effects on the gambling market” must be taken into account when assessing the permissibility of gambling advertising, is incompatible with ECJ case law. The ECJ postulates clear barriers for the gambling advertising of a monopolist, which must be observed in any case. These barriers are:

  • Prohibition of trivializing gambling.
  • Prohibition of giving gambling a positive image.
  • Prohibition of holding out the prospect of significant winnings in a tempting manner.

Furthermore, the experts concluded that all of the monopolists’ advertising strategies examined by the University of Vienna are highly problematic with regard to the ECJ requirements, and that the “gambling makes you rich” advertising strategy in particular is blatantly contrary to EU law. Since the entire gambling advertising examined also addresses potential new customers and is thus aimed at expanding the customer base, it also fails to achieve the objective approved by the ECJ of channeling the already existing gambling impulse. The authors therefore conclude that the monopolists’ advertising behavior in many respects disregards the ECJ’s EU law requirements on gambling advertising and specifically entices non-gamblers to gamble.

Here are the main excerpts from the studies: ES_Werbungsstudie Uni Wien, ES_Werbungsstudie Uni Wien Update, ES_Werbungsstudie Uni München