Dutch Gaming Authority Chairman voices concerns over online gambling ad ban 

Jenny Ortiz 3 days ago
Dutch Gaming Authority Chairman voices concerns over online gambling ad ban 

René Jansen, the outgoing chairman of the Dutch Gaming Authority, raised concerns about the ban on advertising for online gambling during his keynote speech at the annual Gaming in Holland Conference last week. 

Jansen said the agency is finding it increasingly difficult to manage the rising tide of illegal online casinos that exploit the advertising bans imposed on legal operators. These illicit entities, often using affiliate links to lure Dutch players, are thriving under the current restrictive advertising regime. 

“I have already expressed my doubts as to whether the current policy is appropriate,” Jansen said.  

In an article by the Online Casino Amsterdam, Jansen criticised the regulatory approach from The Hague, particularly the stringent rules on gambling advertisements, including the total prohibition of untargeted ads. He emphasised the necessity for legal gaming providers to advertise effectively to attract players away from illegal options.  

“We must enable gaming providers to offer a suitable and attractive gaming environment so that Dutch players can avoid illegal providers. However, this is only feasible if players can clearly distinguish between legal and illegal games, which certainly requires some form of advertising,” he stated. 

Advocating for player-centric policies 

Jansen argued that the current policies do not sufficiently prioritise the interests of Dutch players. He warned of a potential decline in channelisation—the percentage of players gambling solely with legal providers—if legal options become harder to find. While the channelisation rate in the Netherlands is currently high at 90 percent, it shows signs of decreasing, indicating a shift towards the illegal market. 

“Policies and legislation must focus on the players, and political decisions must prioritize their interests. Legal gambling options must be easy to find,” Jansen asserted. 

Earlier this month, the Dutch regulator announced updates to its gaming legislation with the publication of the document concerning the country’s responsible gaming policy.   

Concerns over proposed tax increase in gambling 

Conference attendees also expressed concern over a proposed increase in gambling taxes. If enacted, the tax rate would rise from 30.5 percent to 37.8 percent in 2025, making the Netherlands the most expensive EU country for gambling. This proposed hike has drawn strong reactions from trade associations, which fear it could destabilise the sector. 

A survey conducted during the conference revealed that about a third of participants view the tax increase as the biggest threat to the industry, while a quarter are most worried about the expanding illegal market. Jansen highlighted the need for collaboration between the industry and policymakers to avoid exacerbating the problem. 

In a recent SiGMA News article, The Dutch Online Gambling Association (NOGA) earlier expressed serious concerns over the proposed increase in gambling tax in the Netherlands. This coalition comprises the Party for Freedom (PVV), the Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), the New Social Contract Party (NSC), and the Farmer-Citizen Movement (BBB). 

“With a viable sector, a high channelisation rate, and focused attention on illegal supply, we can ensure that legal online gambling remains a source of entertainment for most players in the Netherlands,” Jansen concluded. 

All eyes on East Europe 

The gaming world will be turning its focus on East Europe this September when SiGMA East Europe Summit 2024 lands in Budapest. 

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