The ban will come into force at the end of this month.
The Netherlands.- Dutch MPs have been calling for new restrictions on gambling ads for some time due to complaints of saturation following the launch of the regulated igaming market in October. The minister for legal protection Franc Weerwind has asked for patience amid calls for time limits and a ban on untargeted ads, insisting that advertising is required to channel players to the new legal offering.
But now the gambling regulator de Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) has announced that gambling operators will be prohibited from using any role models in adverts. The ban will come into effect from June 30.
The KSA has sent letters out to operators and advertising bodies advising them of the new rule. It said that it will monitor operators’ marketing activity to check they comply with the ban and will take enforcement action if needed.
Meanwhile, Weerwind continues to urge caution on the next phase of gambling reforms. In parliament this week, he was asked if he agreed with Belgian justice minister Vincent Van Quickenborne’s description of “gambling as the new smoking” and that advertising should be banned.
Weerwind said the government was observing advertising closely but that he didn’t identify with Van Quickenborne’s statement. He said new measures will be proposed in the autumn.
He said: “The protection of vulnerable people is better guaranteed by legal providers than illegal providers. Where even better protection appears to be necessary, as is the case with advertising for games of chance, we will take measures.”
MPs and addiction experts have urged the government to ban “irritating and misleading” ads which they say have taken over evening television advertising slots since the Netherlands launched its regulated online gambling market on October 2 last year.
Operators spent €23m on gambling ads in the first two months after the regulated market launched. In December, MPs voted in favour of a motion calling for an end to what they described as an “unguided barrage” of untargeted ads.
In April, the KSA launched an investigation into the targeting of gambling advertising at minors and young people aged between 18 and 24. It requested information from licensed operators on whether they have sent ads to minors and young people.
Operators were told they must inform the KSA if they had sent emails, bonus offers, push messages or any other communication to under 25s. The KSA also asked social media companies to report cases of gambling advertising aimed at young people appearing on their platforms.
It’s placed a form on its website for reports to be made. The move came after the KSA warned operators over ads aimed at young people in February after finding that three operators intended to advertise on platforms mainly used by young people.