The House of Representatives votes in favor of the Heerema proposal

The motions tabled during the final two-minute debate on gambling were all adopted. A majority in the House of Representatives voted in favor of Rudmer Heerema’s proposal to reverse the previously agreed reduction in the gambling tax.

The House of Representatives voted today on various motions put forward, including the motions put forward during the two-minute debate on gambling on October 20. During this debate, Rudmer Heerema, Mirjam Bikker and Michiel van Nispen put forward four proposals which, among other things, judge’s room got. Another proposal from Bikker on cryptocurrencies was held and therefore was not voted on today.

A few days after the two-minute debate, Heerema decided to grant a request from the Minister for Legal Protection. During the two-minute long debate, Minister Franc Weerwind already stated that the period Heerema had in mind, the next spring memorandum, was not feasible for the request of the VVD MP. The proposal was amended and the deadline was adjusted to 2024, after which the proposal could still receive the judgment room.

The vote on the proposals was scheduled for the week after the autumn holidays, on 1 November. The three members of parliament who have made the proposals will be positive because all four proposals regarding gambling policy were adopted.

Motion 198: Improving Addiction Prevention

Against () and for () the proposal for better prevention of gambling addiction.

Mirjam Bikker, Member of Parliament on behalf of ChristenUnie, put forward during the two-minute debate a proposal to improve the prevention of gambling addiction. She wanted more science-based interventions and a wider range of prevention aimed at risk groups. An important part of the proposal was that Bikker wanted this abuse prevention to take place without interference from or in collaboration with online gambling providers.

A large majority in the room agreed with Bikker, because the proposal was supported by sixteen of the twenty parties. The only parties that did not vote for the proposal were Groep Van Haga, PVV, Forum for Democracy and member Gündoğan. They account for 26 mandates, and this also means that the parties that voted for them are jointly responsible for 124 mandates.

The adopted proposal can ensure that more is invested in the gambling fund. Currently, the legal online gambling providers contribute 0.25% of their Read more” title=”Gross Gaming Revenue”>Gross Gaming Revenue off to the foundation. In the first nine months after the legalization of the market, this already generated €1.7 million. But according to a number of members of the Norwegian Parliament, including Mirjam Bikker, it was not enough.

With the money from the Gambling Foundation, the research program ‘Prevention of Gambling’ will be launched this year. This research program, developed by ZonMw on behalf of Ksa, funds scientific research into addiction problems and other risks of gambling.

Proposal 200: Ensuring sufficient capacity at the Gambling Authority

Against () and for () the proposal for more capacity of Ksa.

One of the points that struck the members of parliament in the two-minute long debate is how long it takes before a registration imposed by the providers in the Central Register for the Exclusion of Gambling (Cruks) is processed. This eventually led to a proposal by Michiel van Nispen.

The SP member of parliament is one of the members of parliament who has been prominently present in the debate on gambling for a long time. For example, it was a proposal by Van Nispen that ultimately led to a ban on untargeted advertising by online gambling providers. That proposal was already adopted in December and led to much discussion about the introduction of the ban. For example, Van Nispen wanted the ban to go into effect as soon as possible, but it turned out not to be so easy. The proposal to ban untargeted advertising was sent by Minister Weerwind to the Council of State in October. Once the bill is passed in the Senate and the House of Representatives, it can actually be introduced. Weerwind recently estimated that this would be in March 2023, two months later than originally planned.

The proposal, which numbered 200, therefore also came from Van Nispen. He wanted to ensure sufficient capacity at the Gambling Authority (Ksa), so that the authority could carry out all its tasks properly. So this is not only to speed up the process of a forced Cruks registration, but also to do even more against, for example, illegal online casinos.

Seventeen parties supported the proposal. Only three parties did not vote for the proposal: VVD, Groep Van Haga and Lid Gündoğan. This meant a clear majority, which the government can now decide what to do with the proposal. It must then be investigated whether and how the capacity of the Gambling Authority is to be increased.

Proposition 201: Align marketing spending with addiction prevention payments

Against () and for () the proposal to match marketing expenses with the payment to the abuse prevention fund.

The third proposal submitted also came from Michiel van Nispen. According to him, the aforementioned 0.25% that online casinos pay to the Abuse Prevention Fund is too low. In the two-minute debate, he pointed out the big differences between the money spent on addiction prevention and the money spent on advertising.

That was further underlined by Nielsen’s figures published earlier this week. In the first year of the legal online gambling market in the Netherlands, online providers spent a combined €135 million on advertising. This is offset by an estimated €2 million for the Addiction Prevention Fund. Van Nispen himself estimated, as can be read in the proposal, that there will be approximately 2.5 million euros in the fund by the end of 2022.

To correct this imbalance, Van Nispen filed motion 201. In it, he wants to balance the expenses for marketing activities and the payment to the foundation. The Member of Parliament would prefer that one euro goes into the abuse prevention fund for every euro that an online casino spends on marketing. However, he did not express it so firmly in the proposal itself. There he talked about adjusting the expenses to the remittance because the proportions would not be right:

“I believe that the balance between the gambling industry’s recruitment activities on the one hand and addiction prevention activities on the other.”

Van Nispen, in motion 201

This proposal was also supported by a majority in Parliament. The largest parties VVD and PVV voted against, but the proposal was supported by D66 and CDA. In the end, the motion was supported by 90 of the 150 MPs.

Proposition 202: Reversal of a reduction in the gambling tax for sports and prevention

Against () and for () the proposal for a reversal of a reduction in the gaming tax to use the freed up money to support sports and addiction prevention.

Finally, a vote was taken on Rudmer Heerema’s amended proposal. During the debates about the gambling policy, he has always fought for the sport and expressed his concerns several times. The ban on non-targeted advertising states that sports sponsorship will also be banned.

From 2025, providers of online games will no longer be allowed to sponsor sports clubs and events, which, according to Heerema, will have major consequences. The Dutch Football Association, KNVB, also expressed its concerns. According to the football association, the sponsorship ban alone would cost the football world €70 million annually.

That wasn’t the only thing Heerema was worried about. One year before the sponsorship ban in the sports world, the ban on sponsoring events comes into force. According to Heerema, who also plays a role as sports policy spokesperson, this has major consequences for the future. The ban on sponsoring events may ensure that the Netherlands can no longer host major sporting events because events regularly have gambling sponsors. If the Netherlands excludes these sponsors, the event organizers would rather choose countries where the sponsors are welcome.

Attempts to remove the sponsorship ban from the advertising ban failed, so Heerema decided to take a different route. He proposed not to implement the previously agreed reduction in the gambling tax (from 29% to 25%). He would split the money that would become available in half. One part would then be intended for sports and the other part for the prevention of addiction. Heerema estimated this amount in the two-minute long debate at 300 million euros. That would be 150 million euros for sports and 150 million euros for addiction prevention.

It is striking in the voting results that ChristenUnie did not vote for the proposal. ChristenUnie member Mirjam Bikker has put forward proposal 198 to improve abuse prevention. Heerema’s proposal could be in line with this, but it does not seem to fit into the image of ChristenUnie.

Despite CDA and ChristenUnie not voting for the proposal, a majority agreed with Heerema. After the vote, he stepped forward to make another request to Minister Franc Weerwind. He wanted confirmation in writing that the minister would comply with the agreed period, to which Heerema changed his proposal.

Lead photo via Tweedekamer.nl.

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