KSA warns World Cup marketing

KSA: Operators should moderate World Cup campaigns to avoid political backlash

The Dutch gambling regulator, Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), has advised online betting operators in the country to avoid a ‘bombardment of advertising’ during the FIFA World Cup.

In a blog post, KSA Chair René Jensen noted that Minister of Justice Franc Weerwind, who holds legislative responsibility for the Dutch gambling industry, had previously urged betting firms to ‘moderate their advertising’ around the tournament.

Weerwind is the most prominent political proponent of an upcoming clampdown on betting and gaming advertising, particularly relating to sports. The legislation will ban ‘untargeted advertising’ of ‘games of chance’ by 1 January 2023 and prohibit sports sponsorships by 2025. 

Although noting that the forthcoming rules will not have a legal effect on World Cup marketing, and observing that the tournament is an ideal opportunity for betting companies to promote their offers, Jensen urged caution.

He pointed to a letter sent to Dutch licence holders by the KSA, in which the regulator has encouraged firms not to risk provoking further political clampdowns through extensive advertising, citing the ‘bombardment’ condemned by politicians in the year following the online market’s launch last year.

“Of course I understand that a World Cup is an excellent opportunity to draw attention to the range of sports betting,” his statement read.

“Nevertheless, I very much hope that the same mistake will not be made after October 1, 2021, when the legal market for online games of chance opened in the Netherlands. 

“The bombardment of advertising caused so much annoyance that Minister Franc Weerwind was forced to intervene, partly at the urging of the House of Representatives.”

This ‘bombardment of advertising’ since the implementation of the KOA Act licensing framework in October 2021, has already had major political implications for betting advertising.

On 30 June, the government imposed a new law on Dutch gambling advertising concerning the use of ‘role models’ in advertising. This included social media influencers, but also sports stars, due to these celebrities having a strong following among younger audiences.

Following these developments, Jensen stated that he ‘hoped the underlying message’ had got through to operators, urging licences to prevent any further political reactions by avoiding provocative advertising.

He continued: “The industry as a whole and individual gambling companies individually have not excelled in displaying well-considered behaviour.

“Earning money quickly and gaining additional market share should not be considered more important than carefully and jointly building a sector where consumers can enjoy recreational and controlled participation in games of chance in a safe environment.

In the KSA’s letter, the regulator also reminded Dutch operators that there are certain bet types prohibited in the Netherlands, such as on cards or corners. 

As these are betting markets that are legal and popular in countries such as the UK, operators should make note of this to avoid potential penalties in the Netherlands. 

The regulator asserted that it will take immediate enforcement action in the event of violations, adding that during the World Cup it will also remain vigilant against any illegal operators.

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