KNVB against total ban on online gambling sites sponsor sports teams
The Dutch football association KNVB is against a total ban on online gambling providers sponsoring sports teams. The government plans to implement this ban in January 2025, but the football association and professional football clubs think more targeted information and measures would be more effective, they said in a letter to Minister Frank Weerwind for Legal Protection.
Online gambling became legal in the Netherlands in October last year, sparking a flood of online gambling ads. These raised concerns about gambling addiction and protecting vulnerable groups like young people, prompting the government to announce a series of measures.
But according to the KNVB, a ban on letting online casinos sponsor sports teams goes too far. “With the intended total ban, the Cabinet is not looking further at alternatives to limit the risks of online gambling,” the football association said. The ban would result in much less income for sports teams, between 40 and 70 million euros per year, the association said. “That money could have been invested in, for example, youth training and social programs.”
According to the KNVB, the sports world is already taking various measures to combat the risk of gambling addictions and match-fixing. “The professional football sector takes risks surrounding online games of chance very seriously and wants to draw up more far-reaching rules and focus on more information.”
The KNVB suggested other measures. For example, not letting “role models” like football players and coaches appear in gambling advertisements, instead using them to warn of the risks of gambling. Clubs could include in their contracts with gambling providers that their expressions can’t cause moral or material damage and that gambling providers must take extra measures to protect young people. Clubs can also use their various channels to inform supporters about the dangers of gambling addiction.
Instead of the total ban, the KNVB also proposed letting the football sector phase in its own regulations on things like shirt sponsorship, boarding, and naming partners. “For example, an online gambling provider may ultimately be the main sponsor, but must give the place on a shirt to a social organization,” the KNVB said. The football sector could also ensure that youth teams don’t come into contact with gambling and phase out gambling companies’ mentions on signs and boarding.