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Dutch ad ban to launch “no later” than 1 July

| By Zak Thomas-Akoo
In a written response to parliamentary questioning, Dutch minister for legal protection, Franc Weerwind, said that the forthcoming ban on broadcast gambling advertising will happen “no later” than 1 July.
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The Dutch ban on “untargeted” advertising was previously announced by Weerwind in July 2022.

The initial plan banned advertising in public spaces, television or radio from 1 January. However Weerwind delayed its implementation in October, due to public consultations regarding the law being ongoing.

The new date provides clarity to a subject which has been the cause of much public consternation in the Netherlands, namely the issue of children seeing gambling advertising.

Two strikes and you’re out

The topic has been such a controversial one that one member of parliament asked Weerwind whether a “two strikes and you’re out” model of regulation may better deter gambling businesses from deliberately targeting children.

Under such a system, an operator – if found to be advertising games of chance having already been warned by the regulator de Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) – would have its licence revoked.

Weerwind spoke out against the creation of such a system, arguing that regulatory actions must be “proportionate” to the violation, and must have in mind the intended goal.

“Experience shows that normal transferring discussions often already lead to compliance with the rules and orders subject to periodic penalty payments are not necessary,” said Weerwind.

“If an order subject to periodic penalty payments does not lead to compliance with the law, a fine may also be imposed in addition to or instead of an order subject to periodic penalty payments.”

Weerwind further outlined that the country’s Betting and Gaming Act (KOA) gave the KSA powers beyond the ability to impose payments and findings on delinquent gaming operators, including the power to impose binding instructions.

The minister said that this could be used to prevent entities that enable online gambling – such as payment service providers – from offering their services to such businesses.

“This requires customisation and I think it is important that the regulator has the scope to provide this customisation. A two-strikes-you’re-out model does not fit in with that,” said Weerwind.

Tightening rules

Weerwind said that it was his aim to prevent online gaming from being normalised to underage consumers in any way.

“For example, advertising may not be aimed at minors and, for high-risk games of chance, also not at young adults,” he said.

“In addition, I am committed to more information. In collaboration with the KSA and the ministry of health, welfare and sport (VWS), I am exploring how we can raise awareness of the risks of online games of chance among young people,” said the minister.

“In order not to encourage this group to participate unnecessarily, I look at targeted activities that are also largely intended for the environment of young people, such as teachers and parents,” he added.

“I am in discussion with various parties about this, including addiction experts and experts in the field of financial health. In the spring, your house will receive a letter in which I discuss these awareness-raising activities in more detail.”

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