Gambling advertising ban passes first reading in Moldova Parliament

By Peter Lynch

A bill proposing a ban on gambling advertising has passed the first reading in Parliament in Moldova.

Sponsors of the bill say that over 1.3 million lottery tickets are sold daily in the country, with the majority of the tickets bought by those with low income.

“Gambling creates victims and addiction, while this industry is being promoted through aggressive marketing and publicity campaigns,” said the sponsors of the bill.

One of the authors of the bill, PAS lawmaker Dumitru Alaiba, said that lottery ticket sales have grown rapidly in recent years. Lottery ticket sales totalled 3.4m lei ($190,000) in 2017, but have grown to 613m lei in 2020, and now total 2.6bn lei in eight months of 2021. A total of 425,000 tickets were sold in 2017, with that figure jumping to 328 million for the first eight months of this year.

“These numbers tell us of a serious addiction problem with this industry, an addiction to gambling,” said Alaiba. “This is a growing catastrophe. The first thing that fuels this addiction is advertising, which is aggressive indeed.”

The ban is required to pass its second reading before it can become an official law, but if approved, it would cover advertising for all forms of gambling. That would comprise lotteries, sports betting, non-sports betting, and raffles, and would include ads on TV, print press, movie theatres, video and online content, mobile, billboards, transit, and mail.

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