Franc Weerwind, the Dutch minister for legal protection, has pledged that the country’s ban on untargeted gambling ads will come into effect by July 1 at the latest. That’s the same date that neighbouring Belgium also plans to introduce a gambling ads ban.
Weerwind made the statement in a written response to parliamentary questions. Announced in July last year, the ban will initially cover all advertising on television, radio and in public places. Football sponsorship will be phased out by 2028.
The ban had been due to come in on January 1 but was delayed due to extended consultation. MPs had been calling for the ban because of the public response to the saturation of gambling adverts that followed the launch of the Netherlands’ online gambling market in October 2021.
Previously several MPs have called for the implementation of a “two strikes and you’re out” approach to operators who breach advertising rules, which would see operators’ licences revoked after a second breach. However, Weerwind argued that penalties must be “proportionate”.
He noted that the regulator, the KSA, may already issue binding instructions to operators as well as periodic penalty payments and fines.
He said: “This requires customisation and I think it’s important that the regulator has the scope to provide this customisation. A two-strikes-you’re-out model does not fit with that.”
He added: “I am committed to more information. In collaboration with the KSA and the ministry of health, welfare and sport (VWS), I am exploring how we can raise awareness of the risks of online games of chance among young people.
“In order to not encourage this group to participate, I look at targeted activities that are also largely intended for the environment of young people, such as teachers and parents. I am in discussion with various parties about this, including addiction experts and experts in the field of financial health.”
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