Ninja Casino Found to Breach Advertising Moderation Regulations

  • Pop-up that appeared on Aftonbladet tabloid site considered a takeover advertisement
  • Consumer Ombudsman argued the ad was in violation of Section 47 of the Swedish Gaming Act
  • Ninja Casino can now only promote games via sites owned by Elec Games
judge's gavel and law books
The Swedish Patent and Market Court ruled in favor of the Consumer Ombudsman, who argued that the Ninja Casino ad was in breach of the Swedish Gaming Act. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Court rules in favor of Consumer Ombudsman

The Swedish Patent and Market Court ruled against Global Gaming’s Ninja Casino, deeming the brand’s use of full-screen pop-up ads to be in violation of advertising moderation regulations.

the ad at the casino were in breach of the Swedish Gaming Act

Operators must follow a legal requirement for moderation when it comes to gambling advertising. The court ruled in favor of the Consumer Ombudsman, who argued that the ad at the casino was in breach of the Swedish Gaming Act.

Takeover ad violates Swedish Gaming Act

During the proceeding, the Ombudsman stated that the pop-up advertisement created by Ninja Casino violated Section 47 of the Swedish Gaming Act. This section states that moderation must be observed when marketing gambling products to consumers. However, the act does not outline moderation in greater detail.

A total of 20 complaints regarding the ad were sent to the gambling watchdog, Spelinspektionen. The Ninja Casino ad, which is being called a takeover ad, appeared on tabloid news site Aftonbladet.

The Consumer Ombudsman, whose role is to investigate complaints as an independent and impartial party, said the advertisement is intrusive and its content likely to encourage gambling in an excessive manner. The ad’s focus was deemed to be the ease of depositing and withdrawing funds, as well as the ability to win large jackpots. The ombudsman pointed out:

Claims about quick payments and the ease of use could lead to consumers making unwise decisions on starting or continuing to gamble.”

It further stated that the call to “Play Now” in the ad targets the more vulnerable consumer. References to “success tactics” used in the ad were believed to imply a level of skill that was not truthful.

Global Gaming argues moderation issue

Global Gaming’s Maltese subsidiary Elec Games argued that the Gaming Act advertising requirements do not refer to the way an ad is presented. The company believes the Ninja Casino ad to be valid and not in violation of the Gaming Act.

According to Elec Games, the moderation requirement is directed towards the marketing content and the design of the ad, not how it is presented in technical form. The company argued that the ad did not exaggerate the chances of winning large jackpots and made no reference to how likely a player is to win a jackpot.

Court rules otherwise

Despite the argument by Elec Games, the court ruled that the ad is in takeover format. It was not considered moderate as a potential consumer must engage with the ad to be able to view the website they are visiting.

Alexander Ramsay, a court chairman, said a consumer in the target group that has trouble setting gambling limits may want to avoid such situations which expose them to content that would entice them to play. This takeover ad showing up via a non-gaming site like Aftonbladet is hard to avoid and could be triggering.

The ruling also stated that the ad promoted irresponsible gambling by referencing the idea of gambling while commuting. The court considered this to be an unusual time to play.

Based on the ruling, Ninja Casino cannot promote its games online except via sites owned by Elec Games. The company has also been ordered to pay the legal fees of the Consumer Ombudsman. Global Gaming has until December 13 to decide whether to appeal this ruling.

Moving forward

Spelinspektionen chose to suspend Ninja Casino’s operation in June due to operating deficiencies. According to VSO News, the country’s gambling authority discovered major issues regarding the operator, including failure to maintain proper player protections. It also failed to apply the proper anti-money-laundering procedures on their website.

Global Gaming appealed the decision, which was then rejected in August. The most recent ruling against Ninja Casino and its pop-up ad does not have a significant impact on the brand in Sweden since the operator has had its license revoked for some time. However, it may set a precedent for other license holders and their gambling marketing strategies in the future.