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Dutch minister of Legal Protection, Franc Weerwind, who has the gambling brief, said that norm-setting talks with gaming operators are “often more effective” than fines regarding the implementation of the upcoming 1 July ad ban.
In a response to written parliamentary questions, the minister defended chairman of the Dutch gambling regulator Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) René Jansen from criticism regarding his planned approach to enforcement in the early days of the Netherlands’ ad ban.
On 8 June, in a speech at the Gaming in Holland conference, Jansen said that the body would not be engaging in new monitoring or enforcement actions at the beginning of the upcoming ban. Instead the chairman said that the body intended to monitor how the new rules worked out in practice.
Jansen faces criticism from Representatives
Following Jansen’s comments, members Mirjam Bikker, Michiel van Nispen and Anne Kuik of the House of Representatives sent in written questions to Weerwind. In these, the politicians queried whether this was a wise approach.
The members asked if instead the KSA could set a “clear and predictable” standard for the sector by fining every violation.
The minister said in response that his main concern for the gambling ad ban is that regulation and enforcement is effective. He defined this to mean that licensed operators are persuaded to comply with the Netherlands laws and regulations.
“In order to achieve this, invisible measures, such as norm-setting talks, are often more effective than imposing a fine,” said the minister. “Which of course does not alter the fact that violations can be punished in the form of a fine.”
“It is up to the KSA to decide what the most appropriate intervention is, whereby obvious violations are of course dealt with more strictly.”
Weerwind also took steps to defend the KSA working methods from criticism. He said that the KSA took time to look carefully at how the ban works in practice and how it can successfully enforce it.
“Experience has shown that the KSA’s working method of first conducting norm setting discussions before proceeding with enforcement is effective,” he said.
Netherlands bans gambling ads
First announced by Weerwind in July 2022, the ban on untargeted ads is now only days away. Under the new rules all broadcast television, radio and billboards are to be banned.
However, gambling advertising on the internet as well as on demand television is to be permitted under certain conditions. Such advertising will be allowed if operators can prevent these ads from reaching young people under the age of 24.
This will involve proving that at least 95% of the advertising reached people 24 years and older. It is regarding the precise implementation of these laws that some of the more difficult cases that Jansen referred to in his speech will occur.
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