“Brands will have to reinforce their rational benefits with emotional hooks,” Head of Legal Department at Digital Choo Mykhailo Dvorskyi

“Brands will have to reinforce their rational benefits with emotional hooks,” Head of Legal Department at Digital Choo Mykhailo Dvorskyi

What opportunities for gambling brand marketing are opened up by the adoption of the legalization law? What are the advantages of working in the white gambling market? Read in the interview with the lawyer Mykhailo Dvorskyi.

Mykhailo is the Head of Legal Department at the international marketing agency Digital Choo (DC), where he is responsible for the coordination of operations of the legal department, protection of the company’s legal interests, legal support of projects, development of internal regulations, as well as contracts with customers and contractors.

Interviewer: Kyiv iGaming Affiliate Conference (KiAC)

Respondent: Mykhailo Dvorsky (М.D.)

KiAC: How do you assess the draft laws about gambling legalization in terms of gambling ad regulations?

М.D.: For now, most of the draft laws, following the governmental draft law № 2285, envisage the conduct of gambling advertising in compliance with the requirements of Law of Ukraine “On Advertising” and the introduction of article 22-1 to the Law, dedicated to the advertising of gambling brands. This refers to the ban to advertise brands if the advertiser has no functional license, as well as to target ads at vulnerable social groups.

Other draft laws contain clauses that leave space for inconsistencies or make conditions tougher. For example, the draft law № 2285-4 “About regulation of games for real money in Ukraine” forbids advertising such games, except for state lotteries, almost everywhere. Such ads cannot be placed on radio and television, in transport and underground, as well as on the Internet, apart from the websites that identify player age to grant access.

Overall, the first approach is more realistic and favorable for quality market development. However, it is early to say anything more certain: the adoption of the law has been halted and it is not known yet which of the draft laws and in which version will be adopted.

KiAC: What new opportunities for gambling brand marketing will appear when the legalization law will come into effect?

М.D.: If the general trends of gambling advertising regulations will remain the same as in current versions of most draft laws, brands will get an opportunity to place ads legally within most of the channels: TV, radio, print materials, on the Internet.

As the gambling business is a risky category, similarly to tobacco products or alcohol, for example, the lawmaker envisages certain restrictions. This is the ban on outdoor advertising, the ban on ads in programs and on channels for underage users.

KiAC: What legal obstacles can owners of gambling brands face when they market themselves in the local market?

М.D.: Having the status of legal business, gambling brands will have the same risks as other legal enterprises in our country. Even before the start of any promotional activities, they can face corrupt practices while the conduct of the licensing auction.

After getting the license, a company can become an object of close attention of regulators – from the fire or sanitary service to the tax service. Besides, the law envisages the establishment of a new governmental body that will supervise the gambling business activity in Ukraine.

Legal competition models come along the legalization. Both competitors and third parties can file complaints about ads to the Antimonopoly Committee. The latter will request many documents from the company under the complaint, which brings in a huge amount of paperwork and dissipation of resources.

KiAC: What gambling marketing trends are efficient to use in the Ukrainian market?

М.D.: To answer this question, it is important to note that the gambling market will not be forming out of an informational vacuum after the legalization. It is already full of current ads of the state lottery called TOTO and foreign gambling brands that carry out communication on the Internet and are available for the Ukrainians online.

All of it builds a certain pre-history and background for gambling brand marketing after the legalization. Due to the oversaturation of the digital space with look-alike ads, brands will have to reinforce their rational benefits with emotional hooks to attract user attention.

KiAC: What foreign case studies of marketing promo would you recommend Ukrainian gambling and betting companies to consider?

М.D.: In general, considering foreign case studies of marketing promotions, one should pay attention to young brands and companies, for example, Unibet, Betsafe, Ladbrokes, Betway, Paddy Power. Traditional leaders such as Bet365, William Hill, and others can pay comparatively little attention to marketing due to their scale.

However, there are exceptions from the rule even among major brands, for example, our client Parimatch. The active, bold nature of the brand, which is showcased through every element of the communication platform developed by DC, allows efficiently fighting for new customers with both market giants and young brands.

KiAC: What are the most frequent mistakes of gambling companies that refuse to use the legal support service in the process of brand marketing?

М.D.: The first common mistake is the disregard for copyrights, the use of images taken from the Internet without permission, or the use of people’s images without their consent. It can become a subject of legal action and the court will probably take the side of the complainant. Another potential problem is the requirements of the law on advertising to the information about special offers, that very text in small letters that all corresponding materials have to include.

The disregard for details and formalities that has serious consequences in the legal framework is especially relevant for those brands that previously worked in the black or grey markets. They will have to rebuild their marketing departments or choose a reliable partner with experience in the white markets and understanding of the gambling business specifics.

KiAC: What advantages over competitors do companies get turning to specialists in gambling brand marketing?

М.D.: Primarily, the elimination of those common mistakes that I mentioned above. High-quality legal support will help to run activities in correspondence with the law requirements, which can be rather complicated for people that do not deal with them regularly. This is especially relevant in the young market where lawmakers are still introducing amendments to the law, improvements to certification process, and other additional regulatory documents.

As for marketing in general, turning to specialists with experience of gambling brand marketing will allow carrying out efficient communication instead of dissipating efforts on eye-catching but inefficient solutions. Companies that work with specialists correctly communicate their keynote advantages to the target audience, efficiently attract and retain customers, grow their market share, and increase income.

KiAC: What is the main difficulty of legal support of advertising of such risky categories as betting and gambling?

М.D.: The first challenge is that on one side, there is a client that wants to communicate his advantages to the biggest number of users possible. On the other side, there is a number of legislative restrictions, which you have to comply with when you develop and place ads.

The second difficulty lies in the work with complaints about ads. Services that take decisions on whether certain advertising violates the law are guided by their inner opinion. To prove that communication is targeted correctly, for example, you need to engage an expert, which leads to extra expenses.

On the other side, legalization opens many opportunities. If you understand the specifics of legal support of risky categories, you will find working in the white market easier.

Mykhailo Dvorskyi will become a participant of the panel discussion “Transformation of the gambling market in Ukraine”, which will take place at Kyiv iGaming Affiliate Conference on December 18.

You can read the full conference program here >>>

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