Jansen – speaking at the Gaming in Holland annual conference – outlined the KSA’s thinking regarding the upcoming gambling ad ban, which is due to enter into effect in the Netherlands from 1 July. The measure will affect any form of advertising which does not specifically target users including television, radio and billboards.
The chair said that – in the lead up to the ban – the KSA had received many questions from the industry regarding implementation.
“What will enforcement be like?” said Jansen. “How can operators do it right the first time, while not having experience with the restrictions yet? In other words, I hear a call from the sector for ‘guidance’ by the KSA.”
The chairman also highlighted concerns that the ban would have a negative impact on channelisation to legal offerings. Others raised the question of what the administrative burden the ban will present to operators.
“In short, the sector wants something to hold on to from the KSA,” he said. “This may also be an expression of the wish for a predictable regulator. I understand that. Nobody wants to run the risk of a surprise fine.
“And yet, I feel the need to manage expectations a little in that respect,” said Jansen. “We are only able to provide the requested ‘guidance’ to a limited extent. Various parts of the new ban are a new and uncharted area for us as well. Like the industry, we will have to find our way in this.”
KSA provides “limited” guidance for gambling Netherlands ad ban
The chairman added that the KSA would not be engaging in new enforcement actions without gathering more information. Following the rollout of the new regulations, the body is to monitor how the rules operate in practice and share new insights with operators.
Jansen also said that he objected to spelling out the guidance too keenly.
“Licensed operators are at all times the ones responsible for compliance with the regulations, including new rules,” he said. “‘Leaning back’ and waiting for further explanations from the regulator can and should never be the intention!
“My most important guidance – and appeal – for today is an old traffic safety advice: ‘When in doubt, no passing!’”
Highlighting the bad reputation that the sector suffered from in the Netherlands, Jansen urged operators to take a conservative approach.
“My most important appeal at this point in time: find a way, but don’t seek the boundaries. Public confidence in the gambling industry is low and fragile. Operators therefore have to show that they are committed to a fair and safe market with player protection as the important standard.”
Stepping up of data protection
The KSA chairman also highlighted another issue which operators had sought clarity from the regulator; the subject of data vaults.
The Dutch Betting and Gaming Act (Koa) requires operators to have a robust data protection system. The data then allows the regulator to monitor to what extent the operators have been complying with safer gambling and anti-money laundering obligations.
Jansen warned operators that shoddy data vaults would not be tolerated for much longer.
“We understand that providing ‘near real-time’ data in the right format entails technical challenges, but as far as we are concerned there has been time enough to tackle those challenges,” he said.
“That means that if required, we are prepared to proceed to the suspension or complete revocation of licences, if need be. That is a rigorous and last resort step, which we are prepared to make if necessary.”