René Jansen, chairman of Dutch regulator de Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), warned licensees to moderate their advertising because there will be a risk of losing their licences.
The Netherlands.- In a blog post looking ahead to 2022, René Jansen, chair of the Dutch Gaming Authority, Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), has reiterated the importance of “responsible and socially aware behaviour” when it comes to gambling advertisements within the country. Jansen told operators to rein in their advertising or risk losing their licences.
Jansen led into his post by explaining that in 2021 there were 11 online gambling licenses, and more are to be issued this year. Some operators were required to submit to a “cooling-off period” that is going to expire at some point in 2022.
The KSA chairman added: “There are also undoubtedly providers who, in their own estimation, have not yet met the extensive and detailed requirements that are set for a permit. The KSA currently has quite a few applications pending. At the end of the summer, there will be a much more complete picture.”
As 2021 was coming to a close, Dutch lawmakers were addressing the link between gambling and advertising. They didn’t complete their discussions, and the topic will be coming up again soon to clear the air.
“Everyone understands that some degree of advertising is needed to entice players to switch from illegal to legal providers, but don’t overdo it, I would say. Otherwise, the shore will turn the ship,” KSA chair Rene Jansen explained in his post.
While self-regulation would be the ideal solution, Jansen believes that government intervention is necessary to hold operators accountable.
2022, the Chairman explained, will see the KSA “enter a new phase in its supervision” in relation to online games of chance such as poker and roulette, specifically conducting “more data-driven supervision and detect risks on that basis” in line with the Gambling Act’s requirement that operators supply various forms of data to the regulator.
“I can illustrate this as follows,” he explained, “Suppose there are two online providers with approximately the same number of players with roughly the same gaming behaviour.
“Suppose we then see that one provider performs a certain intervention in the field of addiction prevention significantly more often than the other, then this may be a reason for the KSA to look at how this difference can be explained.”
Additionally, Jansen also focused on the importance of operators’ moderation and responsibility when conducting operations, pointing to cases in other countries in which national regulators were forced to intervene by banning or restricting advertising, such as in Latvia.
On the issue of advertising, the Chairman did note, however, that marketing of games of chance has been ‘causing a stir’ in the Netherlands, both politically and publicly. Advertising of games of chance cannot be shown on television between 6am and 7pm under the terms of the KOA Act licensing regime.
However, with Dutch gambling advertising spend now reportedly standing at €23m, there have been calls for greater limitations. Last month, members of the House of Representatives passed a motion calling for ‘untargeted advertising for risky games of chance – including TV commercials – to be banned, following the General Consultation on Gaming.
Providing an update on this matter, Jansen asserted that political patience on the subject “is very limited”, noting that the new cabinet of the Netherlands’ government will ‘soon have to adopt a position on the proposed prohibition of gambling advertisements as calls for such a move mount in the legislature.
Concluding his commentary, Jansen welcomed the appointment of Minister for Legal Protection Franc Weerwind and praised the Minister for Legal Protection Sander Dekker for his “constructive cooperation” with Dutch gambling stakeholders and for guiding the KOA Act through parliament, although maintaining that “there are still important steps to be taken as the sector continues to develop.