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Fiona Simmons April 4, 2023 3 min read
The Netherlands Needs to Ban Untargeted Ads Because Self-Regulation Is Insufficient
Only members of certain trade associations commit to self-regulating their advertising, Weerwind pointed out
Franc Weerwind, the Dutch minister for legal protection, believes self-regulatory measures only have a limited effect on gambling advertising. The minister reasserted that further regulations are needed, saying that the government is still on track with its untargeted advertising ban.
From July 1, 2023, all untargeted ads will be in breach of local regulations. Within a few years, the Netherlands hopes to ban sponsorships in sports as well.
Unfortunately, gambling operators’ efforts to regulate their own ads have had limited effects. In addition, only members of certain trade associations commit to following these rules in the first place, Weerwind pointed out.
As a result, some companies continue to advertise without following any limits. Because of that, Weerwind thinks that self-regulation might not be sufficient. He provided the soccer World Cup as an example, noting that companies spent record amounts on advertising, despite being asked to advertise in moderation.
Weerwind believes that banning untargeted advertisements is a perfect solution. Italy, which adopted a full ban, accidentally channeled many players toward the black market. By contrast, the Netherlands hopes to shield only those who are vulnerable.
The minister said that certain advertising is necessary for people who wish to enjoy gambling in a safe and well-regulated manner. Because of that, banning untargeted ads seems like a good compromise.
The Netherlands Seeks to Get Advertising Under Control
The ban on untargeted gambling ads was originally expected to come into power on January 1 this year. However, public conversations regarding the law eventually pushed back the measure by a few months.
The Netherlands plans to gradually ban more forms of what is considered to be dangerous advertising, such as TV sponsorships and sports sponsorships. A ban on TV sponsorships is expected to come a year after the ban on untargeted ads has been implemented. Then, a year later, sports sponsorships will also be banned.
This arrangement will provide TV channels and sports teams with ample time to prepare for the eventual measure.
The Netherlands is a region known for its strict approach to gambling regulation. As a result, some people proposed a two-strikes-you-are-out model whereby an operator’s license will be suspended upon two violations. However, Weerwind opposed this model, saying that disproportionate punishments will not make licensees any less unruly.
According to Weerwind, overregulation can do more harm than good as it can undermine the relationship between regulators and operators and can channel players toward the black market.