SBC News Kamer rejects ad-blackout as Dutch ministers back loss limits and tougher penalties   

Kamer rejects ad-blackout as Dutch ministers back loss limits and tougher penalties   

The mandate to implement a ‘total ban on gambling advertising’ has been rejected by the Kamer of Netherlands. Yet, Dutch ministers maintain that ‘overarching playing limits’ must form part of the government’s ongoing amendments of the Remote Gambling Act (KOA Act).

A blanket ban on gambling advertising had been proposed by CDA MP Derk Boswijk. When put to vote yesterday, the CDA’s proposal garnered support from 70 out of 150 MPs in the House of Representatives, falling short of the 76-vote majority required.

The proposal had support from various parties, including ChristenUnie (CU), Socialist Party (SP), New Social Contract (NSC), and the SGP (Reform Party).

The House voted on three mandates related to amending the KOA Act, which has governed the Netherlands’ online gambling market since its launch in October 2021.

With 79 votes, the House approved a mandate proposed by ChristenUnie party leader Mirjam Bikker to impose “overarching playing limits” as a new consumer protection measure for the KOA market.

An outspoken critic of the current Dutch online gambling regime, Bikker has urged the imposition of a ‘universal loss limit’ across all 27 KOA-licensed operators “without the possibility of offering customers an increase.”

Before the vote, Minister for Legal Protections, Franc Weerwind, rejected ChristenUnie’s mandate, arguing that financial risk checks had been incorporated into the forthcoming amendments.

Tasked with overseeing KOA reforms, Minister Weerwind recommended that the House approve compulsory monthly financial risk checks for player accounts that spend over €350.

Although it has yet to be voted on, Minister Weerwind insists that the KOA market will introduce a loss limit, applying a €150 spending restriction on the gambling accounts of customers under the age of 24.

The approval of ChristenUnie’s mandate by the House suggests a possible conflict with Minister Weerwind’s proposed amendments to the KOA Act.

Bikker has called on Minister Weerwind to “rethink the design of Dutch online gambling protections” and to implement a fixed loss limit on KOA operators by the end of 2024.

Following the motion’s passage, despite the minister’s objection, Bikker stated to the House: “Yes, Chairman, you can already guess: the motion was passed despite the minister advising against it. I would very much like a response from the minister before the Games of Chance committee debate on how he intends to implement it.”

The Kamer’s final vote endorsed the mandate of Socialist Party MP Michiel van Nispen to impose stricter financial penalties for online gambling violations. Van Nispen has proposed fines of 10% of turnover for gambling companies that violate KOA regulations, a proposal that received the support of 102 MPs.

As communicated to the Ministry of Justice, the SP party has emphasized that the KOA market should impose penalties that significantly impact the income of non-compliant operators. 

Commenting further, van Nispen noted: “The SP wants serious fines and measures against those bad gambling companies. As far as we are concerned, a warning is followed by a fine, and one that really hurts, for example, 10% of turnover. In our opinion, permits should also be revoked in the event of recidivism.

“Has that ever happened, the withdrawal of a permit? I do not think so. As far as we’re concerned: end of story for the cowboys without morals.”

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