ChristenUnie critical of the role of state participation

Minister of Finance Sigrid Kaag and State Secretary for Taxation Marnix van Rij were asked a number of critical questions about the role of Holland Casinos and the Dutch lottery. For example, ChristenUnie expresses its concern over the tens of thousands of millions that state shares earn, while many Dutch people struggle with a gambling addiction.

Several letters submitted on state participation have raised critical questions about the role of Holland Casinos and the Dutch lottery. The questions are addressed to Sigrid Kaag, the Minister of Finance, and come from members of ChristenUnie and SGP.

There has been a lot of talk in recent months about gaming ads from the various gaming companies that make online gaming legal online. For example, the drug treatment center Hervitas reported having seen an increase of about 50% in the number of gambling addicts since the market opened.

During a visit to an AGOG meeting, Justice Minister Franc Weerwind already made it clear that a ban on advertising was necessary. According to Weerwind, it was necessary to protect (former) gambling addicts.

The ban on role models in gambling advertisements is already active in the Netherlands. In addition, it was recently announced that non-targeted advertising from gaming companies will be banned from January 1, 2023. The ban on sponsoring events and programs will become active one year later. Another year later, it’s the sports sponsorship’s turn.

The role of state participation in gambling advertisements

After the opening of the online gambling market, it quickly became clear that Holland Casino and the Dutch lottery, with the TOTO brand, played a major role in the number of gambling advertisements. In the first month, state participation was most often seen during advertising breaks. This was again the case in November.

In February, therefore, a proposal was adopted by ChristenUnie and SP to make both companies’ advertisements’ less promotional ‘.

The state makes millions with Holland Casino and TOTO, while many struggle with substance abuse problems.

The members of the ChristenUnie group are now expressing their concerns about the millions that the national government earns from state participation, while at the same time there are many people in the Netherlands who are struggling with substance abuse problems.

ChristenUnie therefore requests a specification of the advertising costs incurred by state-owned companies Holland Casino and the Dutch lottery. Previously, analysis agency Nielsen already came up with figures on expenses for gaming ads. For example, TOTO is said to have spent almost 15 million euros on gambling advertisements. Holland Casino lags behind by € 14 million in gambling advertising.

Reduction of the state’s share in gaming companies

In addition, ChristenUnie wants to know a specification of the costs of the state participations in connection with substance abuse prevention. The question here, of course, is how these numbers relate to each other.

Another point of criticism concerns the role of state participation in sports sponsorship. Minister of Long-Term Care and Sports Conny Helder called it ‘undesirable for sports and gambling to be so closely linked.’ ChristenUnie would like to know how this affects the advertising policy for, among others, TOTO and Holland Casino.

Both state participations have been active in sports sponsorship for years. For example, Eredivisie was called ‘Holland Casino Eredivisie’ between 2002 and 2005, and since 2018 TOTO has been the namesake of the Dutch cup tournament, TOTO KNVB Cup. In addition, TOTO has a sponsorship agreement with ten Dutch football clubs, including PSV and Feyenoord.

Finally, the ChristenUnie asks the government to outline the financial consequences of a possible reduction in the state’s share in the Dutch lottery and Holland Casino.

Positive development

Is gambling addiction not actually driven by stimulating gambling?

Members of the SGP group wonder why it is in the public interest to offer gambling. They ask whether the government can comment on the contradiction between the promotion of gambling through these state participations on the one hand and the desire to combat gambling addiction on the other. “Is gambling addiction not actually driven by stimulating gambling?”

Nevertheless, SGP also sees positive things when it comes to gaming ads in the Netherlands. They call the decline in the number of gaming ads since November and December 2021 a positive development.

However, the SGP faction is curious about the figures for the number of gambling ads at the moment compared to the figures before the opening of the market. Before the market opened, only gaming ads could be seen from TOTO and Holland Casino because the other gaming companies were not yet legally active in the Netherlands.

Finally, we will end with the question of how the government will ensure that the number of gambling ads falls further.

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