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Dutch minister defends sponsorship transition timeline

| By Marese O'Hagan
Dutch minister for legal protection, Franc Weerwind, has defended the timeline of the country’s sponsorship ban, amid further questioning on the subject from MPs.

In July, the Dutch government announced a number of measures to curb gambling advertising, following severe pressure from MPs. Many forms of ads will be banned from the start of next year, while gambling sponsorships in football will be banned from 2025.

When asked about the upcoming sponsorship ban, Weerwind said that the two-year adjustment period set out for the ban is a “reasonable” length of time.

“That is why a period of two years has been provided for the entry into force of a ban on sports sponsorship,” he said.

“In view of the serious importance of addiction prevention and the special importance of sport, I consider this a short, but reasonable period of time.”

He was questioned in parliament last week (23 September) by Mirjam Bikker, a member of political party ChristenUnie.

The questions mostly dealt with football club ADO Den Haag’s partnership with gaming arcade operators Hommerson Funland and Sir Winston Fun & Games, family gaming arcades which sponsor the club’s youth teams.

The MPs noted that Hommerson and Sir Winston also offer adult gaming arcades, with products such as slots that are not suitable for children.

Bikker asked how sponsorships of this nature could take place, when article 2 paragraph 3 of the Recruitment, Advertising and Addiction Prevention Decree prohibits advertising gambling to minors.

“It is true that sponsorship by licence holders of games of chance should not be aimed at minors,” said Weerwind. “For this reason, licence holders are not allowed to sponsor shirts in children’s sizes. If a licensee does not comply with these rules, the Gaming Authority (KSA) can intervene as supervisor.”

In reference to the potential confusion over whether Sir Winston Casino could be seen to sponsor ADO Den Haag’s children’s kits, Weerwind said it did not seem like an appropriate decision from his perspective.

“In general, I do not consider it appropriate that companies, other than licence holders, use (partially) the same name in their advertising activities as gambling providers that are also part of their corporate structure.”

Ultimately, Weerwind pointed out that whether an infraction took place is for the KSA to decide.

“Whether the licence holder can be held accountable in these cases is up to the KSA as supervisor.”

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