The Dutch Gambling Authority, Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), has initiated an investigation into advertising by betting firms in the country that may be accessible by underage consumers.
Issuing an update, the KSA detailed that the research will consist of two parts – firstly, the authority will request information from licensed providers to confirm whether adverts have been sent to minors and young adults.
Included in the scope of the first phase of the investigation are emails, bonus offers, push messages and ‘other information’.
The second part of the evaluation will focus on social media, with the KSA calling on providers to report examples of advertising aimed at young adults and minors.
In support of its investigation, the KSA has made a report form available on its website, where it can be made aware of advertising aimed at young people up to the age of 24.
Distribution of online gambling advertising to young people and minors is prohibited under the terms of the KOA Act licensing regime in the Netherlands, as authorities maintain that ‘young people are especially vulnerable to developing gambling addiction’.
Since the launch of the Dutch online betting and gaming market on 1 October 2021, advertising of gambling products has become a hot topic in Netherlands public debates.
Under current official requirements, advertising on the radio, outdoors and in print media is prohibited, and a blackout on betting commercials has been put in place between 10pm and 6am.
These measures have been implemented by the KSA, KOA Act, the regulatory regime and by the industry itself – the Netherlands’ Minister for Legal Protection Franc Weerwind has previously described the positive engagement he has had with the betting industry with regards to advertising.
Additionally, the Dutch market has also enforced a ban on the use of ‘role models’ in advertising, namely footballers or other prominent public figures who will be easily recognisable to young people.
However, although Weerwind has stated that it is ‘too early’ for a clear link to be made between an increase in gambling advertising and a rise in gambling addiction, he did note that ‘there are signs’ of problem gambling, and both political representatives and treatment centres have called for greater restrictions.
On the other hand, although the authority has warned operators to be careful with regards to the targeting of their advertising campaigns, KSA Chairman René Jansen has argued that gambling advertising is necessary in order to achieve the player protection objectives of the KOA Act.
In particular, Jansen argued that marketing is required in order to channel customers away from illicit, unregulated black market firms and towards licenced, legal operators.