Why are there still gambling advertisements on television? That was the question at the center of an interpellation debate in the Lower House today. A motion was passed in December for a complete ban on television advertisements of online casinos and bookmakers. Much to the dismay of Michiel van Nispen (SP), Minister Franc Weerwind has not yet taken any action. There were also motions introduced concerning the limits to be set and the chosen slogan.
Through the Right of Interpellation, the House of Representatives can force a debate with a minister or member of parliament on a topic that is not on the agenda. In this case, the debate occurred on the motion against gambling advertisements that was passed in December 2021. By the way, Pure Win casino does not need advertising, this casino is known among players around the globe. The huge selection of machines is amazing.
At the time, outgoing Minister of Legal Protection Sander Dekker indicated that time was needed to see how the motion would be implemented. In April the chamber would receive a letter with an update. Michiel van Nispen (SP) and several other members of the House did not react quickly enough, as reported by the AD and NOS.nl.
Debate on the prohibition of gambling advertisements: Van Nispen says channeling has already been achieved
Van Nispen emphasized again in the debate that in his view the channeling has already been achieved:
The Minister says: you must lead players to legal offerings; that is the goal. That is correct, but that does not require the avalanche of advertisements that we are currently seeing. Everyone knows by now who the licensees are, but we knew that in advance as well. Unfortunately, those commercials don't go out of your head anymore. People know where they can gamble legally. Those lists are just there. Go to any website or that of the Gaming Authority; people know exactly where they can gamble legally. The goal of channeling has also already been achieved. We really don't need this flood of advertisements for that.
He also specified that with his motion he is referring to recurring commercials on TV, radio, and the Internet:
"As far as I'm concerned, yes, but if that leads to implications for already concluded contracts, let's at least start with a ban on the commercials on radio, television, and on the Internet. That's what it's all about."
Adapting the law is not so easy
The new Minister for Legal Protection, Franc Weerwind (lead photo), indicated in the debate that such a ban is not so easy yet. He argued that it is very complex to amend a law and that this usually takes two years.
If it were up to Van Nispen, however, Weerwind would not get two years. He demanded during today's debate that the advertising ban will take effect before April 1, 2022:
One of the points that were central during the debate was the importance of the advertising ban. Michiel van Nispen (SP) and Don Ceder (ChristenUnie) were clear in their opinion. According to them, there should be a complete ban on advertisements of risky games of chance. "We do not want a Las Vegas on the North Sea. The purpose of the Remote Gaming Act was never to attract more customers for the online casinos," they said.
Rudmer Heerema of the VVD, also a supporter of the motion, did want to add some nuance to what is being asked of Franc Weerwind. Heerema emphatically does see the importance of sports sponsorship and the providers of gambling games have a major role in this. He, therefore, called for sports sponsorship to be left out of the advertising ban. The PVV joined the position to spare sports.
A third motion was added during the debate. The motion is about the new warning text for gambling advertisements. In the motion, Rudmer Heerema called again for the lotteries, because of their low-risk gaming offer, to be allowed to continue to use the current warning text to differentiate themselves from the high-risk gaming offer.
In total, therefore, the debate involved three motions with the following tenor: There should be more focus on players' self-limiting limits at online providers. Players can now set that they can lose a maximum of 100,000 euros per month and gamble 24 hours a day, for example. That's not restrictive enough, self-limiting measures must also be self-limiting
Lotteries must, in view of their risk profile, be able to continue to use the slogan 'Play deliberately, 18 '.
The minister promised the House that he would do his best to regulate the advertising ban before April 1, but he would not make any promises. "I will talk to the sector and see what is legally possible," he said.