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The prohibition on gambling advertisements in the Netherlands starts on July 1

Untargeted gambling advertising will be outlawed nationwide as of July 1st, according to the Dutch Minister of Legal Protection, Franc Weerwind.

Weerwind first proposed a ban on advertisements in public places, on television, and on radio in July 2022. Due to ongoing public consultations on the law, Weerwind postponed its implementation in October.

Weerwind stated last month that the ban would go into effect no later than July 1; this date has since been verified as the ban's official start date.

The new date clarifies a matter that has caused a great deal of public concern in the Netherlands, including the concern over minors viewing gambling advertisements.

"Advertising is necessary to make the legal offer of online games of chance known, so that people do not play illegally," according to Weerwind."At the same time, as a government, we also have a duty to protect vulnerable groups against the risks of online games of chance."

"With this ban, vulnerable groups, especially young people, come into less contact with these advertisements and we limit the temptation to engage in high-risk games of chance."

Beginning on July 1st, all radio and television advertisements as well as those placed in public areas like billboards will be prohibited. Internet and on-demand television advertising will be permitted, but only under very strict guidelines.

Only if an operator can actively stop these commercials from reaching young people under the age of 24 will internet advertising, such as social media and targeted ads, be allowed. In the Netherlands, it's against the law to target advertisements at people in this age group.

Operators must also demonstrate that at least 95% of the advertisements reached adults aged 24 and over, and customers must be given the option to say whether or not they want to receive these advertisements.

A blanket ban on advertising that would prevent any advertisements from reaching young people, according to Charlotte Hees, spokesperson for the Ministry of Justice and Security, would be too much of a "risk" and would cause customers to turn to illicit businesses, she told Casinonieuws.

According to Hees, "We have listened carefully to the advice that has been given; that is nowhere realistic. Then you get a total ban on advertising and the risk is too great that people end up on the path of illegal gambling."

"95% 24+ is strict, but it appears to be feasible based on an inventory of media parties. That may not be feasible on all websites and advertising is therefore no longer allowed there."

Existing agreements will be able to continue to exist for a predetermined period of time after the ban.

Deals in the sports industry, such as jersey sponsorship agreements, are permitted until July 1 2025, while the window for sponsorship of TV shows and events lasts until July 1 2024. Sponsorship by authorized operators will no longer be permitted after this date.

"The transitional period is limited to sponsorship agreements concluded before the date of entry into force of this decision," says Hees. "There is no room to conclude new agreements during this period. This would detract too much from the purpose of the decision to reduce the amount of untargeted advertising and its wide reach."

Several political parties, advocacy groups, and other organizations that have previously opposed casino advertising in the nation have praised the prohibition.

Michiel van Nispen of the Socialist Party remarked, "I am pleased that the ban on untargeted advertising for high-risk games of chance is finally coming into effect. I have been politically committed to this for a long time. Because we see that it is risky to encourage people to gamble online because it can cause such problems, for people and society."

Helma Lodders, the head of the trade group VNLOK, criticized the new law for ignoring the social duty that licensed business owners currently exercise.

Finding a good balance between advertising enough to lead people from the illegal to the legal offer and protecting vulnerable groups as well as possible is difficult. Yet that is the common task for the minister and for us," according to Lodders.

"We understand the concerns of society that advertising should not lead to more problem players. However, this decision ignores the importance of advertising and ignores the social responsibility that providers already take."

"We are sceptical whether this decision offers protection to vulnerable groups. We ask the minister to monitor the consequences of this decision to prevent a counterproductive effect."



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