The Netherlands

New gambling regulations will launch in the country from October 1st 2021. The local regulatory body Kansspellautoriteit held discussions over the future advertising rules. Everything could be OK but the discussions turned out to be controversial as the regulatory body only invited VNLOK, which is the local land-based gambling trade association (including the Dutch Lottery and Holland Casino). Meanwhile, there is another local association, the NOGA, that focuses on online gambling and includes bet365, Entain, Flutter and Kindred Group amongst its members. The second group weren’t called for the discussions.

The NOGA didn’t appreciate this. Members of the association believe that new discussions should be held with participation from all sides. The organization stands against the increase in land-based operators' advertising. It is believed that it may lead to the opposite reaction and advertising will soon be totally banned. NOGA Director Peter-Paul de Goeij has outlined his position.

“The limit of three gambling advertisements per block applies only to internet gambling advertisements. In addition to three advertisements for online gambling, Holland Casino, Gaston and Koning TOTO will be allowed to advertise their offline offerings without any restrictions. The viewer does not make the distinction between offline and online – the consumer just sees an irritating gambling ad. In addition, advertisements from today’s gambling providers are already ubiquitous; on television, radio, internet, bus shelters and in our letterboxes. Let’s face it, consumers find too many gambling adverts just irritating”.

NOGA director believes that the future gambling advertising avalanche will only lead to a situation where it will be totally banned. Then it will be hard to persuade the local consumers to play at legal websites.


Ivan Kurochkin’s comments

In our view, this should serve as a good reminder of how important it is to appropriately fine-tune the advertising regulations serving all gambling verticals equally.

The intention to limit online gambling advertising under the new regulation in the Netherlands is a sensible outcome given the rapid growth of the online market. But the result has been the advertising space becoming unbalanced as the regulation favoured lottery and land-based verticals, limiting the online one. This doesn’t really solve the problem of ubiquitous gambling advertising broadcasted to the viewers.

One of the worst examples of unbalanced advertising regulation is in Georgia, where gambling advertisements can be found practically everywhere — TV, outdoor, public transport, roadside lightboxes, etc..

Many times, we could see attempts by different organizations to draw the attention of the Georgian regulator to this problem and reveal how intensifying gambling ads may lead to the problem of underage gambling, and gambling addiction getting worse.


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