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Dutch gambling regulator De Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) has called for careful moderation of gaming ads during the football World Cup. It has written to advertisers to warn that it will increase its attention on gambling ad standards during the event, which starts on November 20.

The World Cup takes place before the introduction of the Netherlands’ ban on untargeted broadcast gambling advertising, which is to come into effect on January 1. However, the KSA said it would be checking to ensure advertisers comply with existing rules, which have included a ban on the use of role models since the start of July.

KSA chairman René Jansen wrote in a blog post that operators would risk a further backlash if they don’t show restraint in gambling advertising during the World Cup. It was the saturation of gambling ads following the opening of the regulated online gambling market last October that caused politicians to call for tougher rules.

He wrote: “I just hope that the underlying message has got through to gambling providers – that is: there is a limit to what society accepts. This was clearly exceeded by the sector after the opening of the legal online gambling market. Both the industry as a whole and gambling companies individually have not excelled in displaying well-considered behaviour.

“Earning money quickly and gaining additional market share should not be considered more important than carefully and jointly building a sector in which consumers can enjoy recreational and controlled participation in games of chance in a safe environment.

“There is an old Dutch saying that applies here: it’s better to turn around halfway than to get completely lost. A new tidal wave of advertising would mean a further blow to the image of the sector and would perhaps be the prelude to even more far-reaching regulation of what is allowed in the field of advertising. I’d say don’t let it get to that point.”