The Netherlands has finally opened to private gambling operators, but it has not given up on an inch of its determination to root out illegal and dangerous practices that impact the well-being of consumers in the most unexpected ways. A new initiative by the Kansspelautoriteit, the Dutch gambling regulator, will now explore how advertising by gambling companies may be impacting underage individuals in the country.
Kansspelautoriteit or KSA will conduct this survey using a two-pronged approach. In the first phase, it will rely on betting agencies that have been asked to send the regulator information about their advertising practices and whether their advertisement has targeted or has been sent to minors or young adults.
This will require betting agencies to pass over to the regulator internal communication, such as emails pertaining to bonus offers, and other related materials that can help the KSA to establish whether harmful practices have been circulating whether on-purpose, due to lack of clarity in the regulation, or by accident.
The KSA is also calling on consumers to step up and use the regulator’s website in helping inform the watchdog whether advertisement by betting agencies has been targeting young people up to the ages of 24 in some specific way. Present gambling laws completely prohibit minors from participating in gambling activities, but the regulator wants to double down and make sure that no party is targeted by accident.
There have been many positive developments in the Dutch gambling market. The Netherlands has completely prohibited brands to use the likeness and popularity of athletes and celebrities in promoting gambling messages to individuals, as they are aware that prominent figures in sports and other areas of life are likely to also be followed by young people who tend to be vulnerable to developing unhealthy problem gambling practices.
According to Dutch Minister for Legal Protection Franc Weerwind there is not as of yet a link established between increases in gambling advertisement and a higher incidence of gambling addiction, but the regulator and government are keen to act in a pre-emptive fashion that may protect vulnerable consumers before they become addicted or suffer from exposure to such products.
Presently, betting commercials are not allowed to appear in media, including print media, outdoors, and radio. The Netherlands has issued several warnings already to anonymous stakeholders to make sure that their product offerings correspond with the standards set out by the government and regulator.
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