Online gambling companies still advertise on billboards and bus shelters, despite pledging to end the practice by April 1 or as soon as possible thereafter, NOS said on Tuesday.

While most major companies have stopped, Betcity continues to put up its posters outside and will do so until the end of its contract with the outdoor advertising agency, a spokesperson told the broadcaster.

However, newly licensed company Circus, which uses former football player Ronaldinho on its posters, told NOS it was not part of the previous deal. Without advertising, the company said, it has few avenues to alert the public to its services.

“All available advertising space has already been taken, including by public companies,” said company director Martijn Maertens. “It’s virtually impossible to sneak in and it makes the market look like it’s closed.”

Maertens said posters featuring Ronaldinho would disappear by the end of June when new rules banning footballers and other personalities from promoting online gambling come into force.

Legal Protection Minister Franc Weerwind said in March that online gambling companies should stop advertising to the outside and reached agreements with the two industry organizations VNLOK and Noga. He also pledged to put in place more regulatory measures.

The government licensed 10 online gambling companies last October in a bid to keep problem gamblers away from illegal websites in the Netherlands. Their number has since grown to 18 and is expected to increase to 25 shortly.

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