Netherlands Ad Limits 'Unwarranted', Says Online Trade Group

October 12, 2022
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​​​​​​​The Netherlands Online Gambling Association has said a raft of proposed advertising restrictions are “unwarranted” and “not based on evidence or analyses”.

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The Netherlands Online Gambling Association (NOGA) has said a raft of proposed advertising restrictions are “unwarranted” and “not based on evidence or analyses”.

Operators in the Netherlands face a ban on all “untargeted” ads that the industry fears will wipe out huge swathes of the current advertising market.

A spokesperson for NOGA told VIXIO GamblingCompliance that the proposal to further restrict advertising is instead based on “irritation and assumption”, which it believes is “never a good basis for policy-making”.

“Advertising plays an important role in channelisation and this ban is a dangerous gamble with consumer protection,” NOGA said.

By contrast, Dutch gambling minister Franc Weerwind has argued the restrictions are necessary as addiction experts and ex-addicts have raised concerns with the volume of untargeted advertising.

"I also see a trend in the available data that young people, in particular, are showing an interest in gambling and this concerns a vulnerable group I want to protect,” Weerwind has said in the past.

NOGA's comments follow the announcement of a several-month delay to the proposed ban on non-targeted online ads, which was originally to be introduced on January 1, 2023.

A delay to the ad proposals — as they require approval from various stages of the Dutch parliament and more time is needed to analyse consultation responses — was announced by Weerwind during a Standing Committee on Justice and Security debate on October 6.

Trade groups in the Netherlands have tried to respond to public criticism surrounding the volume of gambling ads and stave off further regulation by introducing strict self-regulatory measures for their members.

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

Soon after, in March 2022, NOGA and fellow Dutch trade group VNLOK wrote a letter to Weerwind announcing another round of self-regulatory measures.

The trade groups agreed to no more advertising of online gambling in print media, on the radio or in outdoor areas, as well as shortening the time frame during which online gambling ads can appear on TV to between 10pm and 6am.

Separately, NOGA’s views align with Weerwind’s when it comes to implementing a single customer view, with both saying that determining a universal deposit limit is “daunting”.

Instead, NOGA and Weerwind support investigating implementing stricter deposit limits at individual operators that can be increased after a player has passed affordability checks.

NOGA said it “is in favour of good consumer protection and limit setting in principle — at the same time, we also have to keep in mind what is happening on the illegal market. We must be strict and firm but without pushing gamblers away to the illegal offer.”

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