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Dutch regulator raps operators over untargeted adverts

| By Robert Fletcher
Dutch gambling regulator Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) has contacted three licensed operators for breaching new rules on untargeted advertising in the country.
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As of 1 July, operators must ensure all adverts and marketing specifically targets users. This applies to all content on television, radio and billboards.

Adverts are permitted online and across on-demand television under certain conditions. These include operators proving they can prevent ads from reaching young people under the age of 24. 

However, three operators have already fallen foul of the new rules, with KSA having to step in. None of the licensed operators were identified by the regulator.

The first gambling provider offered customers the chance to win a T-shirt with the name and logo of the brand. KSA says handing out merchandise is prohibited as this is classed as untargeted advertising that is visible in public spaces.

Adverts breach Dutch “neutral expression” rules 

As for the two other operators, both breached rules that state only “neutral expressions” can be made in ads. Sponsorship of television and radio programmes is still permitted if ads comply with these restrictions. 

KSA says one provider ran an advert in which its slogan could be heard and seen during programme sponsorship. This, the regulator says, cannot be classed as neutral expression and therefore breached regulations.

The second operator’s advert encouraged visitors to a sports event to use its app with the messages it included in the advert. Again, KSA says this is not in line with its strict rules on neutral expression.

KSA adds that all three operators immediately withdrew their adverts after being contacted over the matter.

Talks with operators may have more impact than fines

Ahead of the new rules coming into effect, iGB spoke with Franc Weerwind, Dutch minister of legal protection. Weerwind said talks with operators might be more effective than fines in ensuring compliance.

KSA faced criticism over only providing limited guidance on the new regulations. However, Weerwind said his main concern for the gambling ad ban is regulation and enforcement are effective.

Weerwind also took steps to defend the KSA working methods from criticism. He said that the KSA took time to look carefully at how the ban works in practice and how it can successfully enforce it.

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