GamingLawPills #5: Bulgarian gambling advertising rules and German pre-orders ban for videogames

GamingLawPills brings news on Bulgarian proposal of changing gambling advertising laws and on an German ban of pre-orders on videogames.

Draft proposal on Bulgarian gambling advertising regulation

The Bulgarian Government notified to the European Commission, in accordance with the procedure described in Directive 2015/1535 an amendment to the current Gambling Act. Interestingly, the draft law provides that a total ban on the admissible advertising of gambling activities does not serve the public interest, while a ban only on advertising related to non-gambling products and goods containing commercial messages or recommendations could lead to the desired goal.

Accordingly, the draft act prohibits

  1. the announcement of game results showing winnings earned by individual players; and
  2. advertisements containing a message to consumers suggesting that the gambling activity organised by the respective company is a means of achieving personal well-being.

The act stipulates that the information which may be announced on advertising shall include only the name of the game and the public draws.

This is an interesting proposal which shows a different approach, if compared to the current Italian law providing for a gambling advertising ban which has to be still ratified by the Parliament.

Video-game pre-ordes ban in Germany

The ruling of the Higher Regional Court of Munich came after a local consumer protection group claim against a German retailer, MediaMarkt, over a smartphone pre-order campaign run in 2016. In the decision, the German Court held that vague release dates for pre-ordes of video games are no longer allowed.

The website at stake described the smartphone as “Available Soon” and this indeterminate statement regarding the delivery of online goods orders violates the legal duty of information of the seller. It cannot be inferred  that the concept of pre-ordering should be considered inadmissible per se. However, when it is not possible for the dealer to specify an exact delivery date, they shall specify an estimated date, if applicable. Alternatively, the seller could promote products without giving a specific delivery date, if the consumer did not buy but only reserved it. In this case, the acceptance of the offer is to be considered binding only for the seller without violating this judgement.

Although the judgement referred to physical goods, the underlying legal provisions applies across all online retailers operating in Germany, including video games.

I am Vincenzo Giuffrè, you can drop me a line @[email protected], read the previous issues of GamingLawPills hereand register to our newsletter ✉️

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Vincenzo Giuffré

Trainee Lawyer at DLA Piper IPT Italy, Milan| Graduated Student at Bocconi University: Major Business Law School | Exchange Program at University of Minnesota - W. Mondale Law School | Visiting Student at National University of Singapore (NUS)

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