KSA: Govt intervention ‘the obvious choice’ if industry fails to self-regulate
Public debate on the prevalence of gambling advertising in the Netherlands following last year’s re-regulation continues, as the Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) regulator issued another update.
Releasing a statement, Rene Jansen, Chairman of KSA – the Dutch Gambling Authority (DGA) – asserted that some operators in the country ‘look for the edges of the law’ with regards to marketing their products.
Firms providing ‘games of chance’ in particular were identified by Jansen as failing to ‘take their duty of care seriously enough’ at a recent Gaming in Holland conference. At this same event, Jansen also asserted that further government action against the industry is a strong possibility if greater self-regulation is not adopted.
“I also said that if they don’t do this soon, further government intervention is the obvious choice,” he explained. “Furthermore, because in the field of advertising, Minister Franc Weerwind has already announced measures.
“In this regard, I announced an intensification of our supervision. A supervisory authority does not allow itself to be looked into, but what I can say is that this is a two-track policy.
“On the one hand, we are launching an in-depth supervisory study in which the addiction prevention policy of all licence holders is examined, both on paper and in practice. In addition, the KSA will not hesitate to intervene quickly if there is reason to do so.”
Despite his concerns regarding some operators’ advertising conduct, Jansen still maintained that the legalisation of the Dutch online betting and gaming market in October of last year was a ‘wise decision’.
Since the launch of the Netherlands’ online sector eight months ago, the market has expanded to include 11 operators, and further growth is expected with a total of up to 20 incumbents predicted by some.
On advertising, Jansen has previously stated that such measures are necessary in order to fulfil one of the key objective of the re-regulating KOA Act – redirecting customers from illegal black market operators to licenced ones.
However, he noted in his most recent address that ‘emotions about online gambling have been running high’ due to a ‘deluge of advertising’ in the country. Notably, Dutch gambling advertising spend hit €23 million towards the close of last year.
“I still think that legalising and regulating online gambling was a wise decision. After all, online gambling did not just start on October 1, 2021. It was already there, but illegally. I would think we shouldn’t be fooled now.
“The intention was and is to create a safe environment for people who want to participate in an online game of chance. Legal providers must ensure that safe environment. A supervisor would prefer to see that this goes smoothly. But if not, then it has to be done in a different way.”
A range of advertising restrictions have been enacted in the Netherlands with the cooperation of the country’s online gambling providers, including a recent ban on ‘role models’ with appeal to a young demographic such as footballers and influencers appearing in commercials.
Additional restrictions include prohibition of advertising on the radio, outdoors and in print media, and a blackout on television commercials between 10pm and 6am.
Advertising continues to be an issue of contention in some public and political circles. In a statement earlier this month, Franc Weerwind maintained confidence in the KOA Act achieving its objectives but observed concerns around ‘excessive and untargeted advertising that could jeopardise the safeguards of vulnerable people’.