Franc Weerwind, Minister for Legal Protection for the Dutch Government, has stated having “norm-setting conversations” with gaming operators could be more effective than imposing fines regarding the upcoming advertising ban for Dutch online gambling.
Weerwind’s comments come in response to Dutch parliamentary questions about the enforcement of the upcoming ban on online gambling advertising, set to begin on July 1.
Members of the House of Representatives Mirjam Bikker, Michiel van Nispen and Anne Kuik asked Weerwind if it was true that comments made at the recent Gaming in Holland event by René Jansen, Chair of Kansspelautoriteit, indicated that the KSA would not enforce fines on operators that break the advertising rules straight away, and if that is the right approach.
At the event, Jansen stated that the KSA would monitor how the new rules are working in practice initially before urging operators not to sit and wait for more guidance to come but rather be proactive, encouraging them to “find a way, but don’t seek the boundaries”.
According to CasinoNieuws.nl, Weerwind replied that the KSA would “of course act” if operators broke the new advertising rules.
He also agreed with the monitoring approach in finding the best way to deal with the new rules, such as having the aforementioned “norm-setting discussions” with operators.
“Experience has shown that the KSA’s method of first conducting norm-transferring discussions before proceeding to enforcement is effective,” he said.
The parliamentary questions also asked the minister if the KSA could set “a clear and predictable standard for the industry by fining every infringement”.
Weerwind replied: “I think it is important that supervision and enforcement are effective. This means that the licensed market parties are persuaded, where necessary, to comply with the laws and regulations. To achieve this, invisible measures, such as norm-setting conversations, are often more effective than imposing a fine.
“This of course does not alter the fact that violations can be punished in the form of a fine. It is up to the KSA to decide what the most appropriate intervention is, whereby obvious violations are of course dealt with more strictly.”
Weerwind was then asked if he would enter into discussions with the KSA about the new rules, to which he replied he wouldn’t.
He stated: “In the discussions I have with the KSA, supervision and enforcement is an important theme. This not only concerns the supervision and enforcement of advertising rules for licensed providers, but also, for example, the enforcement and thus prevention of illegal offers.
“In this context, I would point out that illegal providers generally do not comply with any advertising restrictions when there is scope for doing so. I do not see any particular reason for dialogue in the line put forward by the President for the supervision and enforcement of the new advertising rules.”