Commissioner Charlie McCreevy has come to the conclusion that the Dutch government is expanding their own gambling market in blatant contradiction with European market rules. This is described in a letter that McCreevy wrote in March this year in a response to the Dutch defence of their criticised gambling monopoly. This is in contradiction to what the Dutch government itself claims.
McCreevy argues that the Netherlands has wrongly informed him about the declining advertising costs of The Lotto. The advertising would, in 2004 and 2005, be around 14.1 and 12.6 million euros respectively while in annual reports the amounts mentioned are almost 50% higher.
Furthermore, data from research firm Nielsen Media indicates that the number of ads from The Lotto has risen by 42 percent between 2002 and 2004 and that the total duration of radio and television commercials has grown in that same order of size. A recent set standard is nothing more than a masquerade according to McCreevy.
It also raises questions about the number of gambling addicts in the Netherlands which should be on the decrease. For the legal argument that regulated gaming should reduce illegal and criminal activities, the Dutch government has no proof, McCreevy writes. He also points out that the total offer of gambling opportunites has grown in the last two years.
"Given the above findings, the Commission, in spite of the response from the Dutch authorities, believes that several factors suggest that the Dutch government is expanding their gambling market," McCreevy writes. Brussels therefore concludes that there are no reasons to ban legal gambling companies from other European countries entering the Dutch market.