Slots and gambling advertising soon to be completely banned?

In April, the Dutch House of Representatives voted on a ban on online gambling advertising and even a complete ban on slots. In fact, the majority of those involved were in favor of excluding all forms of targeted promotions on the Internet and also for a ban on slot machines. The latter are considered “high risk games”.

Kansspelautoriteit

The Netherlands is generally considered a very liberal and tolerant country. However, when it comes to online gambling, there is no sense of fun there. We have reported several times in the past about the sometimes strict rules. A draft law was recently presented that would limit the limits for Dutch gamblers under the age of 23 to 5.35 euros per day from October this year. There are also very strict limits for older gamblers. Furthermore, gambling advertising in the Netherlands has been heavily regulated since 2023. Untargeted advertising and spots on TV, radio or in public spaces are no longer permitted.

The relevant requirements have now been tightened again. As recently reported in the trade press, the Dutch House of Representatives voted to ban online advertising for gambling and very high-risk gambling, including slots.

A ban on online advertising for gambling has already been requested several times

Both the motion to exclude online gambling advertising and the call for a ban on slot machines were introduced by the Social Democratic MP Michiel van Nispen. Both received, according to the press, “just enough” support for a majority.

Already in February 2024, a request was received from MP Derk Boswijk for a complete ban on gambling advertising. However, this did not receive enough votes. Further testing was therefore ruled out. Van Nispen took up many of Boswijk’s arguments and tried his case again in April. This time the request was approved with a narrow majority of 77 votes.

Whether it really goes through will become clear in a subsequent review process.
The new application aims to exclude all forms of online advertising, including all targeted advertisements. This follows the ban on non-targeted advertising in the Netherlands, which we reported on back in July 2023 (as described above). As a result, mass advertising on radio, television, outdoor locations and print media was banned. Sports sponsorship is also affected by the ban. However, a transition period applies to existing contracts.

Online slot machines soon history in the Netherlands?

The second application submitted by Van Nispen relates – as the press reports – to “online gambling with a demonstrably very high risk”. In the opinion of the politician and his party, a complete ban on gambling should be imposed, with online slot machines serving as the main example of correspondingly dangerous offers. The reason for this is that the players have no control over the outcome of such games. A majority of 79 MPs voted for the motion.

Despite the clear majority of those involved supporting such a ban, the ban is not yet a done deal. First of all, the issue must be enshrined in law. It is now up to Franc Weerwind, the Minister for Legal Protection in the Netherlands, to review the application or draft and, if necessary, approve it.

Weerwind has a history of supporting responsible gambling. However, he never explicitly expressed his desire for bans. Nevertheless, in a certain sense he is considered a “hardliner”. In December 2023 he announced new measures to protect players. This also includes requiring providers to contact customers who have set a monthly deposit limit of 350 euros (the standard maximum for gambling fans in the Netherlands who are 24 years old or older). The operators are obliged to inform these people about the risks of gambling with such “large amounts”.

Experts are certain: a slot ban could result in significant tax losses and a boom in the black market

If a ban on slot machines were to actually come into force, it would inevitably have significant negative consequences for the regulated industry: the international trade press and recognized experts are certain of this. This would particularly have a strong impact on government revenue. The money from the online casino sector would collapse immensely. The Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), the country’s gambling supervisory authority, estimated in a recent monitoring report that 77 percent of all gambling revenue is currently generated by online casinos. Since Online slots are by far the most popular games in the Online Casinos in the Netherlands, there won’t be much left in the market after these games are removed.

A ban on online slot machines would also lead to a rapidly increasing return to unregulated offerings (as is also evident in Germany). Such a development would be particularly regrettable in the Netherlands, as the new regulation of gambling there in 2021 is fundamentally proving to be a great success. At that time, the KSA had set itself the goal of having at least 80 percent of the market served by regulated operators within three years. In terms of players and web traffic, channelization is currently estimated at 90 percent. This means that the efforts to reorient Dutch gaming are among the most successful measures of their kind in all of Europe.

Conclusion

In fact, there could be a complete ban on online advertising and online slot machines in the Netherlands in the foreseeable future. There are still a few instances between the decisions. However, past decisions have shown that a lot is possible with our neighbors when it comes to gambling regulation. However, particularly with regard to the slot ban, sensible or justifiable enforcement seems extremely questionable. Whether a correspondingly sustained slump in sales can really be accepted?

About Kevin Rendel 103 Articles
I'm Kevin Rendel and I'm testing online casinos for you. As a journalist and gambler I have been working in the iGaming sector for many years. Before that I published books and produced content for websites. At Casinova.org I am responsible for the English and German language content of the casino guide. In the online casino I know exactly what is important. I do not hesitate to call myself a real expert and I assure you, gamblers can rely on me and my experience!

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