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Tanzania regulator proposes gambling ad watershed in new code of conduct

| By Marese O'Hagan
The Gaming Board of Tanzania have released a proposed code for gambling advertising in the country, which aims to protect vulnerable groups.

The proposed code, which was drafted in August but published this week, covers advertising through electronic media, comprising television, radio, internet services, fax transmissions, social media, computer games, electronic billboards and cinemas.

It also applies to print media, namely newspapers, magazines, brochures, leaflets, circulars, mailings, posters, printed billboards, displays on buildings and vehicles.

For electronic media, there will be a gambling advertising ‘blackout’ between 6am and 9pm, covering both television and radio. An exception will be made for ads on dedicated sports channels and stations, however.

It states all advertising must comply not only with the provisions of the 2003 and 2019 laws, but also those set out in the 2015 Cybercrimes Act, the 2016 Media Service Act and the 2018 Electronic and Postal Communications Regulations.

Advertising, according to the code, must not be false, misleading or deceptive, feature minors, or encourage criminal activity. Licensees must also avoid suggesting that winning is guaranteed, that gambling is a way to improve an individual’s finances, while credit, vouchers, or rewards as an inducement to gamble are prohibited.

There is an exception for loyalty programmes, though operators are only permitted to promote the name of the programme and the associated terms and conditions.

In addition, all advertising must carry a safer gambling message, either read out or featured on-screen, alongside the number for the board’s problem gambling helpline. For print ads, the safer gambling message must account for 10% of the ad space.

The code will apply to all operators, the board noted.

“It is duty-bound upon all gaming operators to adhere to this advertising code of practice with a view to keeping in hold the sustainability of the existing business, addressing the emerging challenges and promoting the gaming industry while embracing responsible gaming,” it noted.

Once approved by the Tanzania Gaming Board’s directors, the code will come into force.

Gambling advertisements are already subject to measures set out in the 2003 Gaming Act, with additional measures introduced in the Written Laws (Miscellaneous Amendments) Act of 2019.

However, the Tanzania Gaming Board said that if gambling ads were not subject to specific controls, the country may miss out on social and economic benefits of gambling.

“It is therefore intention of the board to ensure that the gaming adverts are properly regulated in order to achieve social and economic benefits accruing from gaming activities,” it said.

The board added that there was little specific detail in the measures outlined in the two acts, meaning that until legislation was passed, a code of conduct could be applied to ensure vulnerable groups were protected and legal providers were properly promoted.

In July, Tanzania lowered its casino tax from 20% to 15% in an amendment to its Gaming Act.

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