Dutch Illegal Ad Fine Issued As Lawmakers Confirm Incoming Ban

March 24, 2023
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The Dutch gambling regulator has fined Red Ridge Marketing €675,000 for advertising illegal online gambling, as the government confirms its untargeted ad ban will arrive by July 1.

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The Dutch gambling regulator has fined Red Ridge Marketing €675,000 for advertising illegal online gambling, as the government confirms its untargeted ad ban will arrive by July 1.

The Netherlands Gambling Authority (KSA) announced the fine on Thursday (March 23), revealing it has previously imposed a cease and desist order, which along with the fine has not yet been responded to.

Since April 1, 2021, the KSA has been empowered to order internet providers to block access to websites that promote illegal gambling, a tool it says it “will not hesitate to use”.

The websites of Albania-based Red Ridge Marketing were found to contain “careless and misleading” statements about online casinos without a Dutch licence, according to the KSA's announcement.

This included negative statements about the national self-exclusion register, Cruks, and the encouragement of “unlimited betting and playing”.

Additionally, the websites promoted the advantages of illegal online casinos for young people, the regulator said.

KSA chairman René Jansen said “promoters of illegal games of chance providers also receive our attention. They must also comply with the law, especially when it comes to protecting young adults. We will do everything we can to stop these practices.”

An appeal can be lodged against the decision.

The proliferation of all forms of gambling advertising continues to be a hot topic in the Netherlands and the minister for legal protection confirmed that a decree banning untargeted gambling advertising will enter into force no later than July 1, 2023.

Franc Weerwind made the comments this week in a response to questions put forward by other politicians, who say they are concerned about how easy it is for young people to gamble online.

Ad restrictions were first announced in October, but the ban has been delayed by the need for approval from various organs of the Dutch parliament.

When the Council of State gave its opinion on the proposed legal changes on January 2, it said the lack of clarity in the law would have “consequences for the enforceability and feasibility of the prohibition”.

Separately, local media reported that market research firm Nielsen had observed a €15m increase in gambling ad spending in the Netherlands over the past four months compared with the same period the year before, driven largely by the FIFA World Cup.

Dutch gambling trade groups VNLOK and NOGA have in the past few years agreed to introduce more self-regulatory measures on more than one occasion to stem the tide of gambling advertising in response to political concerns.

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