Operators active in the Dutch online betting market must ensure they maintain momentum on their responsibility duties, in order to avoid greater government intervention in the sector.
Publishing some thoughts in a blog post, Chair of the Dutch gambling regulator Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), René Jansen, observed that political patience on betting advertisements ‘is very limited’.
Calls for further restrictions on Dutch gambling advertising standards have been mounting in recent years, with marketing currently prohibited on the radio, outdoors and in print media, a blackout on betting commercials in place between 10pm and 6am.
Jansen remarked: “In the run-up to the opening of the legal online market, I said a few times publicly that I hoped that the legalisation of online games of chance in the Netherlands would be a textbook example.
“That other countries that take this step would say: look, the way it went in the Netherlands, that’s how we want it too. Unfortunately, we have to conclude that this was not entirely successful.”
Jansen had previously noted that advertising is necessary to achieve one of the goals of the KOA Act regime implemented 1 October – that objective being the channelling of customers from black market operators to regulated, legal firms – operators must take ‘sufficient responsibility’.
If this responsibility is not adopted, the government may be forced to act against the industry, the KSA chair observed, as the number of gambling advertisements seen in the Netherlands rises significantly.
The Netherlands’ Minister of Legal Protection Franc Weerwind recently extended restrictions on gambling advertising, prohibiting the featuring of ‘role models’ such as footballers in commercials, whilst a ban on untargeted advertising has also been discussed.
“In other respects, too, I have to conclude that games of chance providers are looking for the edges,” Jansen continued.
“To some extent I understand that. After all, this is a new market and entrants want to gain market share. But the understanding stops in case of violations. In recent months, the KSA handed out a number of hits”
The KSA’s actions have included a plea for betting firms to end social media advertising during football fixtures, and intervene when odds are presented without it being clear that it was an advertisement.
Furthermore, a slew of official warnings has also seen the regulator commence an investigation into advertising, including bonus offers, that legal online gambling providers may send to minors and young adults (18-24 years old), an action that is prohibited.
“The mission of the Gaming Authority (Ksa) is ‘safe games,’” Jansen concluded. “People who want to participate in a game of chance should be able to do so in a safe environment where they are assured of fair play and where they are protected from themselves if necessary.
“We expect responsible behaviour from licensed providers. Society can expect the Ksa to monitor this closely.”