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Dutch advertising ban unjustified, claims gambling trade association

Posted: Jan 11, 2023 14:30 Category: Casino , Europe , Regulatory , Posted by Matthew

The proposed restrictions on betting and gaming advertising by Dutch politicians have been met with resistance from the Council of State, a government body that provides guidance on national policy development.

Dutch advertising ban accused of being unreasonable

The gambling trade association, Gaming in Holland, has stated that the Council has raised concerns about the justification for the ban, rather than its legality. Dr. Alan Littler, Gaming Lawyer at Kalff Katz & Franssen, said “The criticism is not really directed at the restriction itself, but towards the underlying reasoning and explanations given.

“In many instances the Council’s critique is that the explanatory memorandum is potentially confusing and will give rise to a lack of legal certainty. Thus, a first reading would suggest that the Council is telling the Ministry to ‘explain itself better’ rather than calling for a wholesale re-think of the ban.”

As per the roadmap laid out by the Dutch Minister for Legal Protection, Franc Weerwind, a ban on “untargeted advertising” – which includes advertising that is accessible to a wide range of audiences- was set to take effect this month.

Operators will no longer be able to advertise through television, radio, or in public indoor or outdoor spaces, with additional rules for online advertising. Additionally, sports sponsorships are planned to be prohibited by the end of 2025.

Gaming in Holland reported that some members of the Council of State have gone further in their criticism, such as Bert Bakker, Managing Partner at Meines Holla & Partners, a consultancy firm. The Council believed that the proposed ban on advertising lacks sufficient evidence as the regulated online market in the Netherlands has only been in operation for 15 months.

The cause for concern

However, since the launch of the KOA marketplace on October 1, 2021, politicians like Weerwind have observed a significant increase in betting advertising across different media platforms. This has led to calls for restrictions on advertisement.

Bakker remarked: “The Council notes with a certain degree of astonishment that there is no clear and unequivocal quantitative evidence that substantiates the need for such far-reaching restrictions and the resulting curbs on the freedom of expression. Thus, the Minister is asked to do more in order to justify these restrictions.”

The growing political pressure on the Dutch betting and gaming industry led René Jensen, Chairman of the Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), to ask licence holders to avoid excessive advertising during the World Cup, as described by politicians. However, Bakker believes that the lack of clear information about the planned ban on non-targeted advertising means it’s unlikely to be implemented before April 1st.

“According to the Council of State, too much remains unclear,” Bakker remarked. “The Minister’s texts do not provide sufficient clarity to operators and other market parties, and the Council believes that this must change. Not in a subsequent Ministerial Decree, but immediately, in the General Administrative Order and its accompanying explanatory memorandum.”

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