Starting next year, gambling operators in the Netherlands will be facing tight controls on advertisements.

A bill passed the Dutch parliament whereby the so-called untargeted advertising by the gambling sector will be banned starting next year, while deals such as sports sponsorships appearing on shirts, will no longer be allowed starting 2025.

It is considered a big blow to Dutch football since many clubs recently made lucrative deals with betting operators. AFC Ajax for example recently teamed up with Unibet while another fourteen Eredivisie clubs have sponsorship agreements in place.

Since the gambling market opened in the Netherlands on October 1, 2021ago, deals were sealed, reportedly good for about thirty million euros a year combined.

Directors of the Dutch football clubs are outraged and are considering a joint statement, while weighing their options. There is discussion on whether to appeal at the European level or increase lobbying efforts in the political arena.

The Dutch football association, KNVB, has issued a statement on the new regulation, which will take effect on January 1, 2025 and said:

“A sponsorship ban has very far-reaching financial consequences. The hardships of the corona crisis are still obvious in professional football due to the lack of audience in the stadiums at the time. This ban once again affects business operations. The clubs will first look closely at the cabinet’s proposal. Clubs, leagues and sports organizations will then be coming up with a joint response in the form of a sector plan to be discussed with the cabinet.”

The deal does not only affect the football clubs, but will also pose a new challenge to gambling operators that are still looking to get a foothold in the Dutch market. Among them are the ones that have remained benched by not having secured a licence to operate, such as bwin and PokerStars, while others such as bet365 have their operations up and running.

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