Weerwind: Two Years Are Enough for the Sponsorship Ban

Last July, the Netherlands issued an official ban on most gambling advertisements and sponsorships in professional sports. Within the next three years, the government hopes to eliminate the majority of gambling content from sporting events. However, some have been discontent with the timeline provided by the government.

Weerwind Believes the Transition Period Is Just Right

As per the measures adopted by the Dutch government, gambling advertisements will be severely reduced from the beginning of 2023. The action will see most gambling ads completely banned. In addition, the Netherlands hopes to eliminate sponsorships from professional soccer events by 2025.

Some have suggested that the transition period is either too short or too long. However, Franc Weerwind, the Netherlands’ minister for legal protection, argues that this is a completely reasonable transition period.  He believes that the two-year period will provide leagues with ample time to adjust. At the same time, the measures will eventually see the ban of gambling content in sports and will protect vulnerable people from harm.

Weerwind reasserted that he believes two years is long enough to allow sports clubs to adapt but short enough to protect at-risk players as soon as possible.

Weerwind Discussed a Questionable Sponsorship Agreement

In a separate case, Weerwind was recently asked about certain gray areas concerning gambling sponsorships. ChristenUnie representative Mirjam Bikker pointed to the partnership between the ADO Den Haag youth soccer club and Hommerson Funland and Sir Winston Fun & Games. The latter companies offer arcade games that are suitable for children but also have gambling subsidiaries that offer slots and adult entertainment. Bikker, therefore, wanted to know how such agreements will be regulated.

According to Weerwind, gambling licensees are not allowed to offer or promote their products to minors. Such companies will, therefore, be prohibited to appear as shirt sponsors on young athletes’ jerseys. Weerwind pointed out that he finds it a little bit problematic that Sir Winston Fun & Games, which will sponsor the team, shares a name with its gambling subsidiary, Sir Winston Casino. However, Weerwind couldn’t confirm whether this breaches the advertisement rules. He concluded that the Kansspelautoriteit will ultimately decide how the matter should be handled.

Speaking of the Kansspelautoriteit, the regulator recently issued its 22nd online gambling license and cleared Holland Gaming Technology for launch in the country. A few days prior to that, the authority also provided Smart Gaming with an iGaming license.  

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