Authorities in the Netherlands are about to impose further restrictions on gambling advertising over the next three years according to an associated bill submitted by the Minister for Legal Protection.
Phased Restrictions on Gambling Advertising
Minister Franc Weerwind submitted a bill to the Council of Ministers that seeks to amend the Decree on recruitment, advertising and gambling addiction prevention to introduce new restrictions on gambling advertising phased over the next three years.
Beginning from January 2023, all forms of untargeted gambling advertising will be banned, still leaving operators with the option to advertise online but under the tight monitoring by the government to help protect vulnerable people.
From 2024, the second phase of the restrictions begins prohibiting gambling operators from sponsoring sporting events, and a year later, the ban extends to shirt sponsorships and gambling advertising at sporting venues.
Speaking on the proposal, Minister Weerwind outlined it as an “important step towards further curbing gambling advertisements.”
“Advertising is a means of directing people to the legal offer, but the importance of addiction prevention outweighs it. With this, I want to protect vulnerable groups such as young people in particular,” he concluded.
Cautious Approach to Reforms
The proposal to amend gambling advertising provisions comes a month after Weerwind outlined excessive and untargeted gambling advertising as a threat to young people while answering questions in the House of Representatives.
Back then, he also said that the country should cautiously proceed with the reforms and his proposal for phased-in restrictions is looking to provide sports teams with enough time to find alternative sponsorship deals to keep their revenue streams unaffected.
The bill will be discussed this week before being subjected to a period of public consultations – eight weeks during which each stakeholder will be able to submit evidence and comments on the proposal. The associated bill will be sent to the House of Representatives and the Senate while still being in public discussions.
If accepted, the proposed changes to the Decree will affect several top-flight soccer teams in the country, including current Eredivisie champion AFC Ajax and AZ Alkmaar, as well as Eredivisie itself which has Holland Casino as its responsible gambling partner.
AFC Ajax has recently signed a sponsorship deal with Kindred Group’s flagship gambling brand Unibet and the agreement is valid until the end of 2026, while AZ Alkmaar teamed in a partnership with gambling operator Kensino also in a deal set to run until the end of 2026.