Dutch Gaming Commission Tightens Ad Restrictions

With the opening of the Dutch online gambling market in October 2021, nearly a dozen casino providers have entered the Dutch market. All these providers are vying for attention from Dutch players. Although the Remote Gambling Act already has strict rules in place on the parameters for advertisements, new rules were introduced about two months after the opening of the market. Those rules also apply to affiliate websites like Online Casino Ground. These new rules are aimed at supporting current restrictions and will be in place until March of 2023.

Remote Gambling Act and Ads

The Dutch Remote Gambling Act has been in the making for years. After the Dutch Senate approved the law, companies could apply for an online gambling license starting in April 2021. Before this law, the Dutch online gambling market had been steadily growing. Players resorted to an illegal offering that created an annual revenue of around € 750 million. These are the events leading up to the new law:

• In spite of high revenue, marketing efforts were limited to two providers: Toto, a state-owned monopolist for sports betting, and Holland Casino, a similar party offering land-based casino games (both parties have since adapted to the new circumstances, offering online casinos, too). Any other parties advertising would be sure to be fined by the KSA, the Dutch gambling agency.

• With the overwhelming supply of illegal gaming avenues, the KSA targeted its efforts on those providers that aimed their services at Dutch players. In practice, it created a situation where online casinos could offer their services as long as they weren’t too accommodating to Dutch players - marketing would have been an egregious offence of this practice.

• All this changed in October 2021, when around a dozen companies entered the market at once, while well-known big providers were forced to leave. This vacuum coupled with opportunities created a perfect storm for marketers. After weathering the storm for two months, the KSA has extended previous restrictions on marketing messages.

New Marketing Regulations

The announced new marketing regulations are mostly expansions of previous rules and regulations. Many of the regulations are aimed at protecting the most vulnerable part of the population - especially teens and young adults. This bans the use of popular role models (for these groups) in advertisement and other endorsements. Previously, television advertisements for gambling activities were banned between 6 am and 9 pm. This rule has been extended to online video advertisements, where these ads were seen all day long. Another new rule limits television ads to a maximum of three ads per commercial break (which tend to be around five minutes in the Netherlands). These advertisements cannot be broken up into a main and follow-up ad within the same commercial break. Aside from expanding the current time slot restrictions to online videos, television ads are also banned around programs that draw an audience where young adults and/or minors make up around 25% of the viewership. Similar bans were already in place around physical locations: amusement parks, schools, and hospitals. On top of renewed restrictions for advertisements, casino bonuses also see further restrictions. The maximum for a welcome bonus is now € 250, and young adults between 18 and 24 are excluded from using bonuses. These bonuses can never be used as a marketing tool other than on the company’s own website.

Enforcement of the Remote Gambling Act

In the first two months after the introduction of the Remote Gambling Act, no casinos were fined for breaking the rules. One warning was issued for implementing inconspicuous hyperlinks reflecting odds on a football (soccer) news website. Other warnings and fines are primarily aimed at affiliate websites promoting now-illegal casinos to Dutch players.

Published in Casino news

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