Sports Sponsorships – A story from the Netherlands
Let’s talk a little bit about the betting industry in general today.
The Netherlands have recently been at the forefront of a storm with all the activity relating to gambling institutions making their foray into the world of sports sponsorship. A few big deals just before some the biggest international sporting events in the country helped things come to a head and made the world take notice. Just like Belgium, Netherlands followed suit with considering loot boxes in video games a gambling mechanic as well. So the country’s interest in betting regulation is strong.
With FIFA World Cup 2018 round the corner, a great multitude of people are looking for legal sports betting options in the country. If you too have been contemplating betting on football matches but didn’t know where to start, there are many useful beginner’s guide for you.
All this has inadvertently brought a few gambling houses to the public limelight. Where before this, online operators needed to offer and communicate schemes and bonuses like the ones you can find when you click here, the Netherlands controversy gave some of them free publicity without having to do much. There is a certain sense of irony in that.
Quite a simple reason why a deal which would be quite regular in many countries was blown out of proportions in the Netherlands is the strict regulations governing the practice of gambling in the country. So how is this being played out? Here’s a look.
The possibility of legislative changes
The gambling market in this country is essentially a state monopoly. Holland Casino is the prominent casino in the country and it sends all its revenues to the Dutch Treasury. In the arena of sports betting, Lotto is the permitted player. Successive governments have been trying to amend the set of legislations that are now quite outdated, but somehow reforms never came through. Or at least not in the rapid manner in which one would have like them. Many online gambling operators have complained to EU about the Dutch way of doing things, but none seem to be bearing much fruit yet. Commonwealth countries like Canada operate nearly the same way, with Lotto operating as a front for the government, and there are little to no private sports betting companies arising from that Canada. As an author I often propose that UK is one of the best regulated countries in the world in terms of betting. Private companies thrive, can naturally grow their businesses, and the government can earn tax revenue from their efforts. Systems like those in the UK creates an incentive for small business owners who operate their own marketing avenues with bonuses offered from bookies. The privatization of bookmakers can create an healthy ecosystem for countries where betting is well regulated, and in the case of Netherlands we hope it improves.
Anticipating the advent of new regulations Unibet recently signed up a sports sponsorship deal with the Royal Dutch Cycling Union. This has been hailed as a ground-breaking step in the fight for allowing sports sponsorships by gambling institutions in the country. This particular four-year deal is worth a grand 7-million Euros but is subject to certain conditions like the adoption of a new legislation and a tax cut to 20% from the current slab of 29%. The move was hailed as a truly ambitious and a game changer during the initial days of its conception but could not stand the test of the Dutch unwillingness to amend their laws.
The advertising scenario
True to its stringent gambling regulations the Dutch have set down quite a tricky clause while allowing some semblance of freedom to gambling institutions to advertise themselves. The law states that advertising is allowed only by licensed gambling providers and on the condition that the activities of betting and gaming are not actively solicited. With laws as tight as these, people visiting the country often look out for other things to do in the country, than indulge in gambling.
This remarkable stubbornness of the Dutch government to refine their gambling regulations means that the lucrative practice of sports partnerships by gambling companies is still wishful thinking. Till then of course there are easier markets for them to venture into and it would seem that they are doing so without hesitation.