Dutch affiliates express worry over looming advertising restrictions
As reported earlier, the Dutch government intends to ban “untargeted” online gambling advertising from January 1, 2023, onward. The proposed ban includes broadcast, print, and internet advertising.
An amended version of the “Decree gambling advertising and gambling addiction prevention” is currently in public consultation until September 4.
So far, only a few serious responses have been publicly submitted, most notably by representatives of the Dutch affiliate sector. Responses by CasinoNieuws (Frank Op de Woerd) and XY Legal Solutions (Steven Vrolijk) express worry that the new rules would mean that Netherlands-facing affiliate websites would have to check the age of all their visitors and also determine whether their visitors belong to an otherwise vulnerable group.
If this is how the new regulation is intended, it would indeed be likely to virtually obliterate the affiliate sector for the regulated Dutch market.
However, a more than credible argument could be made that deliberately visiting an affiliate website, or looking at search results after actively entering gambling-related terms into a search engine would both fall under targeted, rather than untargeted marketing.
Until further clarity is provided, it remains questionable whether the new regulations are intended as the aforementioned affiliates appear to assume.
European Commission extends standstill for Belgian ad ban
In related news, the European Commission has extended the “standstill period” for Belgium’s upcoming ad ban upon request from the government of Malta. The request could indicate further challenges from the island nation.
Malta might consider taking similar action in the future if the Netherlands would also significantly restrict online gambling advertising. A conceivable argument would be that the Dutch advertising restrictions would unfairly benefit domestic operators, as the land-based sector will be excluded from the proposed advertising restrictions.
Holland Casino returns to profitability in H1 2022
Despite significant restrictions for its land-based venues at the start of the year, Holland Casino has reported €353m in turnover during H1 2022. Online revenues amounted to €83m during this period.
The positive results allowed the operator to accelerate the repayment of its tax debt accumulated during the prior Covid-19-related lockdowns.
“We have returned to profitability and are now in good financial shape,” Holland Casino CFO Ruud Bergervoet said.
The state-owned operator also announced that it would henceforth include compliance and prevention figures in its half year reports.
Niek Hommerson departs Bingoal Nederland
Niek Hommerson has departed from his role in Bingoal Nederland, originally a joint venture between its Belgian parent company and an enterprise run by Hommerson.
Bingoal Nederland was among the first operators to receive a Dutch remote license.
Stakelogic Live receives supplier permit from the UK Gambling Commission
Stakelogic Live, supplier of live dealer content, has received a supplier permit from the UK Gambling Commission. Stakelogic Live is streamed out of dedicated studios in Malta and the Netherlands.
In a press release, Stakelogic Live said it would soon roll out its suite of games with leading operators in the UK market.
“This is a pivotal milestone on our journey to becoming the leading provider of live casino content to operators in regulated markets around the world,” Stakelogic CEO Stephan van den Oetelaar added.
Gambling regulation overhaul could see Curaçao-licensed operators depart the island
Following Dutch pressure, Curaçao recently announced it intends to implement a new iGaming regime by March 2023. An overhaul of the island nation's permissive regime, however, could mean that Curaçao-licensed operators will move elsewhere, iGaming NEXT reports.
An anonymous C-level source said: “It’s surprising to see that a large portion of revenue of many operators comes through Curaçao. Many companies are now looking into other license options because they are afraid that Curacao’s rules will be very strict.”
Costa Rica, which offers a data processing license that allows gambling, is one alternative being considered by operators.
The following events may be of interest to the GiH community:
The 13th European Conference on Gambling Studies and Policy Issues, organized by the EASG, will take place September 6-9 in Oslo.
The 2022 Gaming in Germany Conference, which takes place September 19-20 at the Ritz-Carlton Berlin, will feature presentations by the leadership of Germany's new national regulator, as well as Netherlands Gambling Authority and GREF chair René Jansen. Don't miss it!
The theme of Kindred's 2022 Sustainable Gambling Conference, which is scheduled to take place October 19 in Amsterdam, is “Safer gambling: An honest conversation”.
Dutch Treasury collects €168m in gambling tax in Q1 2022
The Dutch Treasury has collected €168m in gambling tax during the first three months of this year, up from €130m during Q4 2021.
Traditionally, most gambling tax revenue is collected during the last months of the year, as this is a popular time for Christmas and New Year's Eve lotteries.
However, Covid-19-related closures in the land-based sector and the opening of the regulated online market in October 2021 appear to have changed – for now, at least – this traditional dynamic.