Minister Weerwind bans untargeted advertising for online games of chance
As of 1 July, Minister Franc Weerwind of Legal Protection will ban untargeted advertising for online games of chance. The ban should increase protection of vulnerable groups, including youths, against the risk of gambling addiction. Advertising that is banned as of 1 July includes radio and TV commercials and public billboards. Sponsoring by online gaming providers, for example of TV shows or sports clubs, will also fall under the ban after a transitional period. Advertising on the internet and television on demand will only be permitted under strict conditions.
‘Advertising is necessary to communicate the legal offer of online games of chance, to prevent people from playing illegally. At the same time, we, as government, have a duty to protect vulnerable groups against the risks of online games of chance. Through this ban, vulnerable groups, in particular youths, will see this advertising less and we limit the temptation to start playing high-risk games of chance.’
Since 1 October 2021, online games of chance are regulated and made legal under the Remote Betting and Gaming Act. The opening up of this new market led to a large increase in so-called untargeted advertising for online games of chance. As a result, vulnerable groups were unintentionally shown a lot of advertising for this high-risk product. To protect these groups and youths in particular, Minister Weerwind already banned the use of role models in advertising for high-risk games of chance as of 30 June 2022. A broader ban is now being implemented to further safeguard that protection, a ban on untargeted advertising for online games of chance.
Advertising via the internet, such as on social media, targeted advertising, direct mailings and television on demand remain permitted under strict conditions. The gaming providers must actively prevent that advertising reaches young people under 24 years of age or other vulnerable groups. In addition, it must be shown that at least 95 percent of the advertising reached persons aged 24 and up. Whenever advertising is shown, people must be able to opt out of seeing the advertisement.
Transitional period for existing sponsorship contracts
Sponsoring also falls under the ban on untargeted advertising. A transitional period applies for existing sponsorship contracts. This offers sports clubs in particular time to attract other sponsors than gaming providers. The transitional period for sponsorship contracts of TV shows and events lasts until 1 July 2024. Sponsoring in the sports industry is permitted until 1 July 2025. From 1 July 2025, sponsoring by licensed gaming providers is prohibited.
Assessment Remote Betting and Gaming Act
The Remote Betting and Gaming Act will be assessed in 2024. It will be reviewed on whether the targets for regulating online games of chance are being realized. Due to signals that the increase in untargeted advertising has impacted youths and other vulnerable persons since 1 October 2021, quick adjustment was necessary. This resulted in the current ban on untargeted advertising.