The European Gaming & Betting Association (EGBA) is to contribute to the European Commission’s Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on advertising and intellectual property rights, which aims to curb the infringement of IP rights online by starving illegal websites of advertising revenue.

Writing in the EGBA’s quarterly newsletter, EGBA Secretary General Maarten Haijer said: “With more advertising now taking place online, there are risks that the placement of and revenue from advertising might be used to fund websites which breach IP rights. A common example of this is product advertising displayed on streaming websites that feature content which infringes IP rights.

“The infringement of IP rights can be difficult to police in a borderless online environment and collaboration between stakeholders – including advertising regulators and
companies who advertise online – is a necessary step to tackle the problem.”

The initiative formally began in 2018 and has already been signed by 27 companies and associations in the online advertising community. Haijaer added: “We commit ourselves to sharing, encouraging and educating the online gambling sector on the principles of this memorandum and play our part in the wider EU efforts to crack down on online IP rights infringement.”

The MoU is being spearheaded by Harrie Temmink, Deputy Head of the Public Interest Services Unit at DG Internal Market, at the European Commission. He points out that research shows that within the EU, the gambling betting sector ranks first when it comes to the presence of brands on infringing websites (including illegal streaming websites).

According to figures from the last quarter of 2018, 40% of all ads on such websites are from brands. Of these brands, 62% are companies active in the gambling sector. Temmink concludes: “It is therefore fair to say that part of the online gambling industry finances pirated websites…

“The success of MoUs very much depends on the participation of key operators; the good faith of the partners to genuinely engage in an effective cooperation and the ability to objectively measure the compliance with the commitments made.

“The first eight months of experience with the MoU on Online Advertising and IP rights show that certain progress has been made. The Commission therefore hopes that the signatories will take a positive decision on continuation of the MoU in September. That will also be the moment for new parties to sign up.”

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