Dutch opponents of gambling can take a sigh of relief. After months of debating the alleged flood of casino advertisements, most advertisements will soon be banned, although the date for the new law has been shifted. Under the new rules, casinos are only allowed to use limited online advertisements and advertising channels.
The new rules mark a series of amendments to the new Remote Gambling Act. In October 2021, the previously unregulated Dutch gambling market opened for licensed operators. The following months were marked by an unprecedented increase in casino ads, as most operators were brand-new to the market and had to establish a name for themselves.
Casino advertisements quickly became a hot topic, even with existing restrictions and self-imposed limits in place. The ensuing debates have resulted in stricter rules around casino and gambling ads, which should have entered a new phase on January 1, 2023.
These rules would ban all non-targeted advertisements. This includes outside advertisements in public spaces (such as bus stops), radio and television commercials, and advertisements in print. Only targeted ads through online avenues are still allowed, provided sufficient measures are taken to exclude vulnerable audiences – those prone to addiction and people under the age of 24.
New laws hit a snag
In the last stages of signing the law into action, the Dutch high counsil of state, the Raad van State, had serious issues with the motivation for the law. It recommended better supporting the current decision to ban non-targeted ads.
Critics of the new law point out that the government is putting restrictions in place well before it’s clear what needs to change. According onlinecasinoground.nl, a Dutch information hub on online casinos, it is unclear what effect advertisements have had on players. There is currently no data available that would warrant this decision. And there is no conclusive data on the total amount of players, the change in players.
OnlineCasinoGround.nl also states that they are all for measures to protect underage and otherwise vulnerable players to ensure a sustainable and responsible way of gaming. What’s surprising about this law, however, is that there are no statistics that would support it.
Casinos running out of options
The ban on non-targeted advertisements is the second in a series of amendments to the Remote Gambling Act that restrict the advertising options for casinos. The first of these bans came into effect in 2022, when the use of role models was further restricted.
Future changes include a ban on sports team sponsoring in 2024, and finally a ban on sponsoring all events in 2025.