In the run-up to an anticipated advertising ban, online gambling companies in the Netherlands are significantly increasing their advertising expenditure, contrary to previous commitments to reduce the number of ads. The past four months have seen a 33% increase in advertising spending compared to the same period last year, amounting to an additional 15 million euros, according to Nielsen’s market research data.
Factors behind the increased spending
The World Cup in Qatar contributed to the rise in advertising expenses as gambling companies launched promotional campaigns during the event. However, the spending continued to grow even after the tournament. Moreover, the Dutch market has seen a surge in new licensed online gambling providers, and advertising airtime costs have risen, further driving up the overall expenditure.
Political parties demand answers
The Christian Union, SP, and PvdA are calling for clarification from the minister, questioning the delay in the advertising ban and seeking information on efforts to limit ad numbers in the meantime. Since October 2021, licensed online casinos have spent 211 million euros on advertising, which, although substantial, still falls short of the amount invested in advertising by lottery companies (estimated at more than 300 million euros).
Despite gambling companies’ promises a year ago to reduce the visibility of gambling ads and eliminate outdoor advertising, spending on this form of advertising persists. Two industry associations representing gambling companies in the Netherlands claim their members have adhered to these agreements. However, Peter-Paul de Goeij of the Netherlands Online Gambling Association (NOGA) laments that “Unfortunately, our example has not yet been followed by some other companies.” He reiterates the call for industry players to commit to self-regulation and respond to societal and political concerns.
- Betcity, 36 million euros
- Kansino, 29 m euros
- Toto Online, 29 m euros
- FairPlay Casino, 21 m euros
- Holland Casino, 21 m euros
- Unibet, 15 m euros
- Tombola, 15 m euros
- Bet365, 9 m euros
- One Casino, 9 m euros
- 711, 7 m euros
In conclusion, the Netherlands is an appealing market for gambling companies, with nearly half a billion euros gambled online in the first half of 2022 alone. Young adults aged 18 to 23 are particularly active on these sites, raising concerns about the vulnerability of this demographic. It remains to be seen whether the minister’s efforts to ban a significant portion of gambling advertisements will effectively protect young adults and curb the growth of the online gambling sector.