Dutch Gambling Ad Spending Doubles Despite Threat Of Ban

January 7, 2022
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Dutch gambling advertising has more than doubled in the months following legalisation of online gambling on October 1, even as a new Dutch government is poised to consider parliamentary proposals for an ad ban.

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Dutch gambling advertising has more than doubled in the months following legalisation of online gambling on October 1, even as a new Dutch government is poised to consider parliamentary proposals for an ad ban.

Gambling advertising has averaged €3.5m per week in television, radio and print ads since legalisation, compared with €1.5m prior to the date, according to market researcher DVJ Insights, using data from Adfact.

“The current surge in online gambling advertisements is just the beginning,” DVJ said in a statement. “The major players are still waiting for a permit and many parties are still set to start advertising.”

Leading online brands such as Kindred Group’s Unibet and Betsson have yet to enter advertising battles because their applications have been delayed by provisions for a cooling-off period, after which unlicensed operators are meant to have stopped soliciting gambling from Dutch residents.

Last month, parliament voted to back a motion calling on the Dutch government to ban untargeted advertising of “high-risk” gambling.

“It became clear that political patience when it comes to this subject is very limited,” said Rene Jansen, chair of the Netherlands Gambling Authority (KSA), in a blog post on Thursday (January 6). “The new Cabinet will soon have to adopt a position on this.”

“Everyone understands that some degree of advertising is needed to entice players to switch from illegal to legal providers, but don't overdo it, I would say,” Jansen said.

Last month, four Dutch parties reached a coalition agreement that leaves long-time Prime Minister Mark Rutte still in charge of the country, but with a new set of deputies.

Spearheading gambling regulation will be the new minister for legal protection, Franc Weerwind, appointed to replace Sander Dekker, who had been in the Cabinet for nine years.

Weerwind’s views on gambling are not known, but his party, D66, voted against the December 16 parliamentary motion on gambling advertising.

If adopted as envisioned, the motion would mean advertising on television and radio is effectively banned, with marketing limited to targeted ads on the internet after 9pm.

Former minister Dekker had said he thought it was too early to restrict advertising.

Parliament is not in session again until January 10 and Dekker’s replacement Weerwind will apparently decide the fate of the advertising motion.

The 57-year-old Amsterdam native is the son of Surinamese immigrants and was mayor of Altmere from 2015, and before that, Velsen and Niedorp.

The KSA has so far only approved 11 licences, but Jansen said the regulator is processing “quite a few” applications.

“At the end of the summer there will be a much more complete picture,” he wrote.

He also promised more “data-driven supervision” and risk monitoring.

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