Dutch Ad Ban Set for 1st of July Deadline
It has been announced by the Dutch Minister for Legal Protection Franc Weerwind that the scheduled ban for gambling advert broadcasting is likely to come into force no later than 1 July.
As such, the ban refers to any advertisements that are clearly in the public eye (or ear), such as television, radio, or billboards, and initially, this was planned to come into force from 1 January of this year.
This issue has been the subject of much public debate over the last few months in the Netherlands, particularly revolving around the fact that children are exposed to gambling advertising.
Multiple Chances Given to Operators
There have been many elements of controversy surrounding this issue of gambling advertisements, and the model has been designed to provide a number of chances to operators who are found to have flouted the regulations.
As such, a ‘two strikes and you're out’ system appears to have been agreed upon in parliament, which could help to prevent operators from deliberately advertising to those who are under the legal gambling age in the country.
It would see any operator found to have flouted the law already having its license revoked by the Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) - the gambling regulatory body in the Netherlands.
Experience shows that norm transferring discussions often already lead to compliance with the rules, and orders subject to periodic penalty payments are not necessary.
If an order subject to periodic penalty payments does not lead to compliance with the law, a fine may also be imposed in addition to or instead of an order subject to periodic penalty payments.
This requires customization, and I think it is important that the regulator has the scope to provide this customization. A two-strikes-you-’re-out model does not fit in with that.
What is clear is that the country still has a number of wrinkles to iron out regarding what operators are allowed to do, and there needs to be a general consensus among the gambling regulation and lawmakers.
What Would the Likely Effect Be?
Despite the country only having been regulated for just over 18 months, there still appears to be some opacity with regard to the law surrounding gambling companies. While the application process to operate in the Netherlands is one of the most rigorous in the industry, some operators still appear to be pushing the rulebook to the limit.
Just like in many other countries, the Netherlands takes the issue of underage gambling very seriously, and, as a result, imposing more severe punishments on operators that clearly target ‘children’ with their advertising may help to alleviate the problem.
One effective way to help combat the issue of underage gambling could be through education, encouraging those in positions of authority (such as teachers) to give workshops about the dangers of this.
From an advertising perspective, once the new legislation comes into force, it may mean operators think twice about their campaigns, especially if the end result is total expulsion from the Dutch market.