Dutch Fine For BetEnt As Ad Ban Details Published

April 19, 2023
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The Netherlands Gambling Authority has issued a €400,000 fine to BetEnt, a Dutch online gambling company owned by Entain, for distributing advertising that was improperly directed to young adults, as the government reveals details of its impending advertising prohibition.

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The Netherlands Gambling Authority (KSA) has issued a €400,000 fine to BetEnt, a Dutch online gambling company owned by Entain, for distributing advertising that was improperly directed to young adults, as the government reveals details of its impending advertising prohibition.

BetEnt, which operates the BetCity.nl website, was acquired by Entain in January for up to €850m.

The fine, announced today (April 19), is the fourth Dutch fine for advertising to young adults aged 18 to 24 in the past six months.

“The law prohibits games of chance providers from targeting young adults with advertising,” KSA chair René Jansen said in a statement.

“The Gambling Authority monitors this closely and with these four sanctions it once again underlines how important it is that providers of games of chance respect the rules that are intended to protect vulnerable target groups.”

BetEnt improperly sent numerous marketing emails to players in its database under the age of 24, the authority said.

The company said it did not target young adults for recruitment or advertising, but the KSA rejected arguments that the law was unclear on what constituted the targeting of young adults.

“BetEnt should (and could) have taken measures not to direct recruitment and advertising activities at young adults,” the regulator wrote.

Those fined in recent months for directing advertising at young adults include bet365 and TOTO Online, part of the Dutch State Lottery.

The KSA credited Kassa, a long-running Dutch consumer-affairs television programme, with an investigation into BetCity.nl ads between October 2021 and March 2022 that led to the regulator launching its own investigation.

BetEnt is eligible to appeal the ruling, the regulator said.

The Dutch government has also revealed the details of its incoming ban on un-targeted advertising today, which will be in effect from July 1.

Franc Weerwind, minister for legal protection, confirmed the details of the prohibition in an announcement.

“With this ban, vulnerable groups, especially young people, come into less contact with these advertisements and we limit the temptation to start high-risk games of chance,” Weerwind said.

From July 1, radio, TV commercials and billboards on the street will be banned.

Sponsorship of TV programs and events will last until July 1, 2024, while sports sponsorships will remain permitted until July 1, 2025.

From July 1, 2025, sponsorship by licensed online games of chance providers will be prohibited.

Advertising on the internet and television-on-demand will only be allowed under strict conditions.

“The providers of games of chance must actively prevent advertising from reaching young people under the age of 24 or other vulnerable groups,” said the Ministry of Justice and Security.

“In addition, it must be shown that at least 95 percent of the advertising reached people who were 24 years or older. Where advertising is shown, people must be able to indicate that they do not want to see the advertising.”

Weerwind previously banned the use of role models in advertisements for high-risk games of chance as of June 30, 2022.

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