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KSA: Reduce gambling ads during World Cup or risk greater backlash

| By Zak Thomas-Akoo
Dutch regulator de Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) has urged advertisers to moderate their ads during the World Cup ahead of the planned ad ban rollout.

The upcoming ban on “untargeted” advertising will mean broadcast ads will be banned from 1 January which will be followed up by a sponsorship ban by 2025. This will complement the existing rules prohibiting role models in Dutch gaming ads, announced on 16 June.

While the World Cup will occur before the implementation of the new rules, in a new letter the KSA warned advertisers that violations of existing standards would warrant enforcement action. The regulator also stated that it would be maintaining a higher level of alertness around the activities of illegal providers during the event.

In a blog post commenting on the letter, KSA chairman René Jansen warned advertisers that a failure to curb the excesses of sports betting advertising ahead of the event could lead to a repeat of the dynamic that followed the opening of the regulated market on 1 October 2021; wherein the profusion of advertising led to a political response from both the Dutch parliament and regulator.

“I just hope that the underlying message has got through to the gambling providers – that is: there is a limit to what society accepts,” he said. “This was clearly exceeded by the sector after the opening of the legal online gambling market. The industry as a whole and individual gambling companies individually have not excelled in displaying well-considered behaviour.

“Earning money quickly and gaining additional market share should not be considered more important than carefully and jointly building a sector where consumers can enjoy recreational and controlled participation in games of chance in a safe environment.

“There is an old Dutch saying that applies here: better to turn halfway than to be completely astray. A new tidal wave of advertising would mean an extra blow to the image of the sector and perhaps the prelude to even more far-reaching regulation of what is allowed in the field of advertising. I’d say don’t let it get to that point.”

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