Dutch Eredivisie football club PSV Eindhoven has called on fans with season tickets to let the club know how they feel about potential future commercial partnerships between PSV and an online gambling company.
Local newspaper Eindhovens Dagblad confirmed that the football team had indeed sent letters to their fans, requesting them to share their views on gambling promotions usually seen during football matches. Their potential deal with the online gambling company is expected to be worth €1 million and €1.5 million per year.
PSV Supporters’ Association Chairman Harrie Timmermans commented on this move by the team to consult their fans. “We have had internal discussions about this. It’s a bit of a gray area. This will soon be legal and will bring money to the club, but it is too easy to regard everything that brings in money as desirable,” he said. This seemingly lukewarm response leaves people wondering whether the consultation will reveal a strong support for PSV entering into commercial deals with betting companies or if their fans will lean more towards discouraging them from such partnerships.
Timmermans went on to express concerns that the data of supporters like them could be sold to betting companies as a result of such commercial deals. If this happens, he said, fans could be “buried under mailings to participate” in gaming activities. This is the main reason why their organisation has not come out in full support of PSV’s plans to sign commercial agreements with an online gambling company in the near future.
Other than PSV, reports also say that several of the country’s top football teams, including Ajax and Feyenoord, are weighing the advantages of entering into partnerships with gambling operators in the future. What early reports have not clarified is whether the feedback PSV will receive from fans is simply part of an informal consultation, or if the team has included some specific questions that will be among their basis for future commercial partnerships with betting companies. The team itself has not responded to requests for clarification on this matter.
The news about a number of teams starting to consider partnerships with gambling companies and PSV consulting their fans about the same matter was expected by some industry insiders, as Dutch regulator Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) is currently implementing measures to further open up the country’s gambling industry. Just this March, the KSA itself conducted their own consultation process. They gathered opinions from various stakeholders, particularly gambling industry influencers, regarding player protection measures.
All these recent developments are happening on the heels of the country’s Senate approving the Remote Gaming Act after debating about the issue for two and a half years. The Act is set to be implemented by July 1, 2020. As soon as the Act comes into effect, the KSV will begin the process of licensing. Just last month, Dutch Minister for Legal Protection Sander Dekker has also published secondary regulations for the Dutch iGaming market. This allowed industry stakeholders to submit comments on the proposed rules. Comments will continue to be accepted until September 18.