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(Sport)sponsorships and advertisement options in the Dutch online gambling market

Posted Wednesday 15th November 2023

Since the entry into force of the Remote Gambling Act in October 2021 any operator with a license from the Netherlands Gambling Authority is allowed to do business in the Netherlands. This regulation and legalization of remote betting and gambling led to a substantial increase of sport sponsorships and the amount of advertisements for online gambling. The rules for advertisements were already tightened in July 2022 to block celebrities and other famous people from appearing in the advertisements. Now, new regulations are formulated to further restrict promotion of online betting.

The former Minister of Justice and Security stated: “After a transitional period, sponsorship for online games of chance, for example,  for TV programs or sports clubs, will also fall under the prohibition. Advertising on the internet and video-on-demand will only be allowed under strict conditions.”

The transitional period has been chosen specifically for sports clubs and events to give the sports industry – that is financially dependent on these sponsorships – time to find new sponsors and evaluate the financial consequences. Sport sponsorships that already existed before July 1st 2023 will still be allowed to execute their agreements in some form. Sponsorships of television programs and events must end by July 1st, 2024. The use of untargeted advertisement at sportclubs, such as billboards and logos on shirts will be tolerated until July 1st, 2025, if these agreements were already in effect before July 1st, 2023.

So, in general: untargeted advertising is forbidden. Advertising on websites, social media, video-on-demand and direct advertising is it only allowed if the providers can prove that:

  • the reached people are able to opt out of seeing the advertisement;
  • at least 95% of the advertising reached persons are aged 24 or older;
  • they actively prevent advertisements from reaching people under 24 years of age or other vulnerable groups.

One can imagine that providers could use already existing algorithms to fulfill the requirements that are mentioned above and still successfully reach potential visitors for their betting websites.

Remote gambling organizations that want to promote their business in the Netherlands are therefore restricted in doing so. With regard of sponsorship contracts in the sports industry it is only allowed to execute the current existing contracts up until July 2025. Any remote gambling organization that wants to operate in the Netherlands should bear in mind that untargeted promotion of their organization is not impossible, but it is highly restricted. Not handling within these restrictions can lead to huge fines and legal proceedings.

This article was written by Gemmy van der Valk-van den Bosch, Vissers Legal.

This article is for reference purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Specific legal advice about your specific circumstances should always be sought separately before taking or deciding not to take any action.