No Rapid Enforcement For 'Difficult Parts' Of Ad Law, Says Dutch Regulator

July 13, 2023
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The Dutch gambling regulator does not think there will be a “very direct and swift enforcement” of the “difficult” parts of the new advertising rules that came into effect on July 1.

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The Dutch gambling regulator does not think there will be a “very direct and swift enforcement” of the “difficult” parts of the new advertising rules that came into effect on July 1.

However, Rene Jansen, chair of the Netherlands Gambling Authority (KSA), clarified that “clear breaks of the law”, such as the use of role models or adverts in public places, will be enforced swiftly.

Speaking at iGB Live in Amsterdam on July 12, Jansen said it is “very important to see what happens” and that the regulator will receive reports from operators, as well as monitor responses from other stakeholders.

It “might be possible” that this feedback will “translate into a new guidance for operators in the industry”, Jansen said.

On June 8, gambling minister Franc Weerwind told concerned lawmakers that he expects “licensed providers not to sit back and push the boundaries" and supports Jansen's view to “initially focus on monitoring compliance with the new rules” before deciding how to “deal with the new rules in practice”.

The “untargeted” gambling advertising ban in the Netherlands was introduced on July 1, which affected radio, print and outdoor advertising, as well as TV.

One aspect of the new regulation highlighted by Jansen as being a worry for the regulator, operators and affiliates is the requirement for 95 percent of those who see targeted ads to be aged 24 and older. This applies to all forms of advertising.

“That is a new, uncharted area. We will see how it works in practice. It gives lots of headaches to operators about how to realise this,” Jansen said.

Speaking on a separate panel later in the day, Geraldine Huijssoon, the head of analysis and research at the KSA, explained that the regulator is already “monitoring the effects” of the new ad rules and will report on it at a later date.

When it comes to protecting 18 to 24 year-olds, Jansen believes this is part of a trend in Europe at the moment, as the age group is “more vulnerable in a certain sense for developing addiction problems”.

Since last December, the Dutch government has also been looking at the duty of care guidelines, as players can currently lose “excessive sums” in a small timeframe, according to Jansen.

The investigation by the government has been completed; however, its contents are still confidential.

“It is clear that we have seen too many cases of old and young people who have lost vast sums of money in a short period of time. That is very worrisome. Interventions in these cases were too late or absent. That is why we started an investigation.

“We have seen each operator do this in their own way. It might be the case that we urge for more uniformity, for more interventions and stricter policy,” Jansen said.

The government is preparing new rules for limits, “which might be stake limits or time limits for instance”, Jansen said.

Despite the Dutch government collapsing on July 7, the head of the KSA hopes parliament concludes that this work can continue and be introduced later this year.

Looking to the future, when Jansen was asked about the potential utilisation of artificial intelligence to help automate enforcement, he stated that it “should be done by people”.

"I am not a fan of machine-driven regulations. Interventions must be proportionate. The expertise of people is also very important. Most enforcement ends up at the judge's table. You must be able to defend your position."

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