Dutch Legislature Rife With Gambling Ad Concerns

July 13, 2022
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​​​​​​​A consultation has been launched on the Dutch government’s proposed changes to gambling advertising laws, while politicians also have Holland Casino and the Dutch Lottery’s advertising spend in their crosshairs.

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A consultation has been launched on the Dutch government’s proposed changes to gambling advertising laws, while politicians also have Holland Casino and the Dutch Lottery’s advertising spend in their crosshairs.

A consultation on plans to ban untargeted advertising for remote games of chance was opened by the Ministry of Justice and Security on July 10 and will close on September 4, 2022.

A ban on non-targeted online ads is being proposed to protect vulnerable groups, in particular those with addictive tendencies, and young people under the age of 24, the government said.

The possible ban comes as several other restrictions on gambling advertising have advanced.

A motion was recently passed after it was approved by 108 out of the 150 members of the House of Representatives preventing the government from exempting football shirt sponsorships and other on-field advertising from the proposal.

Just days before, on June 30, the Dutch government banned ads using role models for casino games and is reviewing a possible ban on print, TV and radio ads for higher-risk games.

The government’s restrictions followed the industry’s own attempts at self-regulating advertising.

In March 2022, Dutch gambling trade groups VNLOK and NOGA agreed to introduce more self-regulatory measures for its members in response to concerns gambling ads were being perceived as “overkill”, including no more advertising of online gambling in print media, on the radio or in outdoor areas.

A separate new voluntary code for the gambling industry, which seeks to reduce the volume of ads, also came into effect on February 1, 2022.

However, earlier in the month, justice minister Franc Weerwind expressed reluctance to go further than the untargeted ban, saying he does “not consider a general ban on advertising for high-risk games of chance desirable”.

Elsewhere in parliament, the Dutch Lottery and state-owned Holland Casino are also coming under fire from members of the Christian Union Party concerned that the government profits from gambling participation.

Judith Tielen, chairman of the standing committee for finance, has been asked in a formal letter to explain several things, such as the advertising spend of the operators and what is spent by the state on gambling addiction prevention and treatment.

The politicians are also calling for the Cabinet to outline the financial implications of a possible reduction of the state share in these gambling companies and “the undesirableness of the sponsorship of football clubs by gambling companies relate to the advertising policy of the state participations Nederlandse Loterij and Holland Casino”.

The Cabinet is being asked to share figures on the change in the number of gambling advertisements since the opening of the online market and if it will commit to further reducing the number.

Separately, a motion to ban loot boxes was also introduced in July and has support from politicians across six different major parties.

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