Dutch Politicians Propose Complete Ban on Gambling Advertising

A mandate has been filed to ban all gambling advertising in the Netherlands, as the Kamer prepares to vote on imposing further safer gambling amendments to the Remote Gambling Act (KOA Act) this week.

Calls for a sweeping change to the laws of Dutch gambling advertising have been led by Derk Boswijk of the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) party.

Once more, pressure increases on Minister for Legal Protections, Franc Weerwind to revise the amendments of the KOA Act, proceeding with the government’s review of the Netherlands’ online gambling marketplace since its legal inception in October 2021.

This February, the Kamer (parliament) will vote on Weerwind’s recommendations to impose a compulsory monthly financial risk check on player accounts that spend over €350. Weerwind has further endorsed that a €150 spend limit be applied on the gambling accounts of customers aged under-24.

Yet gambling reformists across Dutch political parties have branded Weerwind’s protections as deficient, stating that KOA needs to be strengthened on the key disciplines of advertising, financial risk checks and customer care duties.

The CDA is seen as the biggest challenger of the KOA regime, in which the Party has publicly declared that it seeks bilateral support to ‘terminate the KOA Act’, which it deems has failed in its “primary objective to protect Dutch consumers from pathological gambling disorders”.

Latest developments, see CDA minister Derk Boswijk call for a “total ban on gambling advertsing” a motion signed  by Diederik van Dijk (SGP), Nicolien van Vroonhoven (NSC), Michiel van Nispen (SP), and Mirjam Bikker (ChristenUnie).

The KOA regime has undertaken stringent changes to its advertising rules. In July, regulatory reforms backed by Weerwind were introduced to restrict “untargeted advertising” across TV, radio and print, and in some public spaces like cinemas and cafes. The provisions excluded general online marketing, direct mailing, and social media advertising. 

Previous statements by Weerwind also point to a planned phase out of sports gambling sponsorships by 2025. 

Last week, Weerwind was once again put under pressure, this time by the ChristenUnie party (CU), in an attempt to change existing KOA rules that according to the CU are ‘deficient’ when it comes to player protection from excessive online gambling. 

The proposal submitted by the CU, and backed by several parties including the CDA,  requested Weerwind to review his previously mandated €150 spend restriction on players under 24, and to consider a ‘universal financial loss limit’ instead that would apply to all 27 KOA-licensed operators.  

Weerwind stands by his recommendations as Legal Minister tasked with overseeing gambling reforms in which the Kamer will stick to its regulatory agenda and vote on upcoming market reforms.  

The Ministry of Justice supports Weerwind’s approach, whereby reforms to the KOA Act have proceeded following the 22 recommendations by Dutch public health specialists, advocating for the adoption of “gambling limits, advertising curbs, and addiction prevention policies”.

With the calls for drastic change in the gambling ads framework knocking on Weerwind’s door, Chairman of the Dutch Online Gambling Association (NOGA) Peter-Paul de Goeij warned that this could inadvertently lead to an unjustified smearing of gambling.

“It is good that the minister clarifies the rules for safe gambling and thus makes the duty of care more concrete,” NOGA’s Chairman stated.

“At the same time, we must always be careful that legal gambling is not made too unattractive. We will study the proposal carefully and make suggestions to improve it and thus achieve the desired effects.”

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