Online gambling advertising restrictions in Australia and Nintendo lawsuit

The upcoming Australian advertising restrictions for online gambling operators and the ongoing negotiations between Nintendo and emulator websites.

Gambling advertising restrictions in Australia

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) announced the enhancement of a compliance framework designed to protect children from exposure to gambling advertising during and around sports events on online platforms.

The new regulation will enter into force at the end of September 2018 and it provides for a gambling advertising ban throughout live sport events, including eSports, between 5 am and 8:30 pm. A blackout period will also apply for the five minutes preceding the scheduled beginning of a sport event and the five minutes after the end of the same. Moreover, during live events commentators are not allowed to promote odds and gambling representatives are also banned from appearing at specific venues during this period.

The ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin which made the amendments in line with the Australian Government policy on stricter advertising restrictions for the gambling industry, said that:

“this is the first time that online services streaming live sport have been required to comply with gambling advertising restrictions” also specifying that this new regulation “[…] brings online services in line with television and radio broadcasting services. It creates a safe zone for children and families to watch live sport across a variety of platforms.”

The express intention of the Australian regulator is to monitor the impact of the new rules over a 12-month period, after which it will consider whether to conduct a formal review of the stricter approach. The ratio behind the regulation has been clarified in the explanatory statement and it represents a noteworthy proposal, if compared to the current Italian law providing for a total and unjustified gambling advertising ban.


Nintendo’s lawsuit against emulator websites

After the lawsuit filed by Nintendo against LoveRETRO and LoveROMS ROM sites asking for compensatory damages in breach of massive copyright and trademarks infringements, both sites have removed all Nintendo games from their website, while games for other consoles still remain available.

In the face of the legal action websites’ owners are trying to settle the disputes with an ongoing negotiation. As the court filings explain:

almost immediately after the complaint was served, the parties began actively discussing and working toward settling the case“.

In response to the request of the defendants’ lawyers, Nintendo requested a substantial number of documents as part of the settlement negotiations. Other than time and legal costs’ savings, Nintendo would avoid the risk of negative precedent where a court might rule that not all older ROMs are copyright-infringing. However, the mere filing of the lawsuit has already obtained the noticeable effect that other emulator websites ceased their activity voluntarily.

Therefore, the extension requested by defendants’ lawyers to settle the case seem to be the most beneficial outcome for both parties.

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