The Impact of NASPL Advertising Standarts on Problem and Underage Gambling

States acting to authorize legalized casinos should consider statutory and regulatory policies that acknowledge problem gambling and seek to offset its impact. Measures to draw awareness to problem gambling should be initiated by the regulatory agency.

Statutes dealing with the age for legalized casino gambling should take a two-pronged direction. First, those licensed to operate casinos should be subject to strict regulatory oversight and held accountable for failing to consistently and diligently deter and detect attempts by underage persons to enter casinos or engage in gambling. Secondly, statutes should place responsibility upon young persons seeking to intentionally frustrate the law by gaining access to casino gambling. Specifically, states should consider promulgating petty or misdemeanor offense provisions that can be applied to persons gambling or facilitating entry by intent or deception.

The North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries (NASPL) approved a list of advertising standards for their members on March 19, 1999. 79 These standards address the content and tone of lottery advertising, including the use of minors in ads, the inclusion of game information and a clear listing of lottery revenue beneficiaries. According to the NASPL, signatory NASPL members “will conduct their advertising and marketing practices in accordance with the provisions of these standards.” 80 These advertising standards are outlined below:
· Advertising should be consistent with principles of dignity, integrity, mission, and values of the industry and jurisdictions.
· Advertising should neither contain nor imply lewd or indecent language, images or actions.
· Advertising should not portray product abuse, excessive play, nor a preoccupation with gambling.
· Advertising should not imply nor portray any illegal activity.
· Advertising should not degrade the image or status of persons of any ethnic, minority, religious group nor protected class.
· Advertising by lotteries should appropriately recognize diversity in both audience and media, consistent with these standards.
· Advertising should not encourage people to play excessively nor beyond their means.
· Advertising and marketing materials should include a responsible play message when appropriate.
· Responsible play public service or purchased media messages are appropriate, especially during large jackpot periods.
· Support for compulsive gambling programs, including publications, referrals and employee training is a necessary adjunct to lottery advertising.
· Advertising should not present, directly nor indirectly, any lottery game as a potential means of relieving any person’s financial or personal difficulties.
· Advertising should not exhort play as a means of recovering past gambling nor other financial losses.
· Advertising should not knowingly be placed in or adjacent to other media that dramatize or glamorize inappropriate use of the product.

79 In addition to the national standards provided by NASPL, many state lotteries have created their own guidelines for advertising. The advertising codes for 24 lottery states were forwarded to the NGISC on April 20, 1999. 80 See NASPL Advertising Standards, sent to NGISC by George Anderson, April 1999.