Dutch Parliament Votes For Ban on Slots, Risks Driving Gamblers to Unregulated Markets

On Tuesday, the House of Representatives in the Netherlands, by vote, favored a ban on online gambling advertisements and high-risk online gambling activities, such as slots. Initiated by Michiel van Nispen of the Socialist Party, these motions garnered just enough support to achieve a majority.

The vote addresses the rising concerns over gambling activities deemed “high-risk” and targets online slots specifically, addressing a broader concern that players cannot influence the outcome of these games, a factor that enhances their risk. A total of 79 MPs voted in favor of this particular ban.

Earlier efforts to impose a blanket ban on gambling advertising faltered when a motion introduced in February by MP Derk Boswijk did not pass. However, Van Nispen revisited this initiative, leading to today’s successful vote, which prohibits all forms of online gambling advertising, including targeted ads.

This legislative action follows a previous ban on untargeted gambling advertising, which took effect on July 1, 2023, limiting mass advertising on various media platforms and including sports sponsorships, though existing agreements are currently in a transitional phase.

The new regulations extend beyond advertising, as the House also passed measures for mandatory financial risk assessments and identity verification for gambling. Out of the 114 motions discussed from recent debates, ten were related to gambling and all received approval.

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As the motions move forward, it is now up to Franc Weerwind, Minister for Legal Protection, to review and enact them into law. Weerwind, known for advocating responsible gambling, has not yet endorsed these stricter measures. If enacted, these bans could significantly impact the regulated gambling industry, potentially driving players towards unregulated markets. This concern is mirrored in situations like Germany’s, where stringent gambling laws have boosted traffic to black market operators.

The Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), the Dutch gambling regulator, has noted that online casinos currently generate 77% of all gambling turnover in the country, highlighting the financial stakes involved.

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