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Unpacking the Netherlands’ new gambling ad ban and its implications

After several delays, the Netherlands Government implemented a new law on July 1st, 2023, prohibiting most forms of gambling advertisements. This measure is part of a broader legislative move aimed at addressing rising concern over problem gambling and its societal impact.

Background: The Path to the Ban

The Netherlands launched its regulated gambling market on 1 October 2021, leading to a rapid influx of gambling operators investing heavily in advertising. Concerns about the impacts of the proliferation of these ads on the Dutch public led to stricter gambling ad rules announced by Minister Franc Weerwind in March 2022.

Originally slated for implementation on 1 January 2023, the ban faced a series of postponements due to a lack of clarity on some provisions. Eventually, the government settled on a July 2023 start date.

Ban Specifics and Phased Rollout

The new regulations cover most media channels, banning gambling ads on television, radio, print, and public places like billboards, bus shelters, cafes, and gaming venues themselves, including casinos and slot parlours. The ban will extend to sponsorship of events, programmes, venues, and clubs, set to phase out completely by 2025.

However, the law permits targeted advertising in certain contexts such as on-demand streaming services, social media, direct mail, and online gaming environments. The goal is for 95% of viewership for these ads to be over the age of 24, although how this will be defined, monitored, and enforced remains somewhat ambiguous.

Regulatory Approach and Enforcement

The Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), the Dutch Gambling Authority, will oversee the enforcement of these rules. The KSA has mentioned issuing only “limited” guidance on the ban, urging operators to take the lead in adhering to the new regulations.

While the KSA has cautioned against pushing the boundaries of the law, the approach has raised questions among anti-gambling politicians about its effectiveness. However, Minister Weerwind defended this approach, suggesting that open communication with license holders could often be more effective in shaping behaviour than imposing fines.

Impact on Industry and New Advertising Code

In response to the ban, Dutch gambling industry stakeholders have revised the self-regulation guidelines, introducing a new version of the Advertising Code for Online Games of Chance. This code outlines additional requirements for advertising inducements, including a 30-second time limit on adverts and a limit of three gambling ads per advertising session.

Operators are also urged not to include language encouraging irresponsible play, to inform players about responsible gaming, and to limit the use of welcome bonuses. These self-imposed guidelines are expected to work in tandem with the new government regulations to ensure responsible gambling practices.

Reactions and Long-Term Implications

The ban has elicited mixed reactions, with gambling companies voicing concerns over potential loss of revenue, job cuts, and the rise of unregulated, black market operators. Supporters of the ban, however, argue that citizen welfare should take precedence over economic concerns.

As the ban takes effect, the KSA will actively monitor how the new advertising rules are being applied in practice. The long-term impacts of the gambling ad ban in the Netherlands, both on the gambling industry and the economy at large, are yet to be fully understood.


The Dutch Government’s decision to ban most gambling advertisements marks a bold step towards addressing problem gambling. While the long-term implications are yet to be seen, this move has sparked a global debate on the right balance between economic interests and public health. This ban serves as an example to other nations grappling with similar issues and highlights the Dutch Government’s commitment to prioritising the welfare of its citizens over industry profits

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