Dutch trade bodies clash over gambling advertising rules

NOGA wants tighter restrictions to prevent a backlash against gambling advertising.
NOGA wants tighter restrictions to prevent a backlash against gambling advertising.

The NOGA is unhappy about the trade body’s exclusion from discussions and wants tougher controls to avoid advertising saturation when online gaming goes live.

The Netherlands.- Two Dutch trade associations have come into conflict over the launch of a new advertising code of conduct ahead of the launch of the country’s newly regulated online gambling market on October 1.

National regulator KSA published new advertising guidelines last week, which were informed by discussions with the land-based gambling trade association VNLOK, whose members include the Dutch Lottery and Holland Casino.

But the Netherlands’ main online gaming trade group, the Netherlands Online Gambling Association (NOGA), is unhappy that it was left out of the discussion.

It wants operators from both the online and offline sectors to work together to agree on guidelines in order to avoid saturation when the online market launches, fearing that a surge of ads would provoke a backlash that could lead to a total ban.

The association, whose members include Bet365, Entain, Flutter and Kindred Group, says that the new code’s limit of three online gaming adverts per commercial block is not tight enough, especially since adverts for lotteries and land-based gaming could also be broadcast in addition in the same blocks.

Calls for tighter restrictions on gambling ads

NOA director Peter-Paul de Goeij said: “The limit of three gambling advertisements per block applies only to internet gambling advertisements. In addition to three advertisements for online gambling, Holland Casino, Gaston and Koning TOTO will be allowed to advertise their offline offerings without any restrictions.

“The viewer does not make the distinction between offline and online – the consumer just sees an irritating gambling ad. In addition, advertisements from today’s gambling providers are already ubiquitous; on television, radio, internet, bus shelters and in our letterboxes. Let’s face it, consumers find too many gambling adverts just irritating.

“This irritation, and the flooding with gambling advertising, must be prevented. That’s why NOGA has been calling on all gambling providers, online, offline, the Postcode lottery – but also media parties and broadcasters – to sit down and make agreements on the total amount of gambling advertising in the Netherlands, since June 2019.

“We need to do this to temper the growth that is coming, with the legalisation of the online market, and to prevent a gambling advertising avalanche.

“If we do not prevent this from happening, there may be a ban on gambling advertising introduced soon and then we will not be able to persuade consumers to play at a legal gambling site. NOGA therefore advocates advertising volume control.”

He added: “We support the code, but with the important addition that that cross-sector agreement of advertising volume control is absolutely necessary and I would like to invite all colleagues, the media parties and the broadcasters to get around the table in a coalition of willing, to jointly prevent a gambling advertising avalanche.”

The KSA has also published its new reporting requirements under the Netherlands’ new Remote Gambling Act. Operators must provide a CSV file providing quarterly data on advertising, player recruitment, addiction prevention and monitoring of betting and gaming integrity.

The regulator began taking online gaming licence applications in April. The new licensed market is due to go live on October 1.

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gambling regulation KSA NOGA