The head of the Dutch Online Gambling Association (NOGA) has warned that it is still too easy for online gamblers to “end up in the clutches of organised crime”, as the industry awaits an impending advertising crackdown.
NOGA director Peter-Paul de Goeij said the positive effects of the Netherlands opening up its gambling market in 2021 are becoming “increasingly visible” as he shared the findings of the group's latest annual “Online Gambling Barometer” survey.
The survey found that 14 percent of respondents gambled online in the past 12 months compared with 11 percent in 2022 and 12 percent in 2011.
However, 67 percent of players still do not know how to distinguish between licensed and unlicensed online operators, a minor improvement from 70 percent in 2022.
A total of 9 percent of players have knowingly gambled on an unlicensed site in 2022.
De Goeij believes the industry faces an important task to ensure it is “easy and clear” for Dutch players to identify licensed operators “especially if that recognition deteriorates again due to the upcoming advertising ban”.
“Unlicensed providers, for example, still advertise online, also via major search engines. There are many tens of thousands of unlicensed gambling sites active where Dutch gamblers also end up and get into trouble,” he said.
Dutch industry representatives, including NOGA, have recently expressed fears that incoming advertising restrictions will drive players to illegal sites.
The incoming advertising decree will ban untargeted advertising for online gambling.
It will also prohibit advertising on all media other than online channels, including public spaces, on television or in printed media.
De Goeij called on the industry and the government to work together to ensure that the “licensed offer remains attractive enough to keep them away from illegal activities”.
Data used in the survey was gathered by Ipsos online research between February 20 and April 3, 2023.
The industry is still waiting on guidance from the Netherlands Gambling Authority (KSA) regarding how certain details of the decree are expected to be adhered to, de Goeij said.