Dutch Authorities Increase Unsolicited Gambling Ads Fine to €250,000

Home » Dutch Authorities Increase Unsolicited Gambling Ads Fine to €250,000

6.04.2020, 19:13

The coronavirus outbreak has come as an unexpected hit to a lot of industries around the world. As the spread of the pandemic progresses, businesses are trying to come up with ways that would make the situation work in their favor. Not all organizations, however, pick ethical and legal strategies.

Anti-Pandemic Measures

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Kansspelautoritetit (KSA), the Dutch national gambling regulation authority, had to initiate mass closure of offline gambling operators. As of now, 14 official land-based casino chains in the Netherlands are temporarily on shutdown. The estimated reopening will happen in early April. It is a part of the global effort to lower the contamination rate by minimizing the gatherings of big groups of people.

Now that these measures have taken place, the KSA is struggling with an outburst of illicit advertisements. Unlicensed operators started promoting online gambling services as “corona-free.” Since iGaming is illegal in the Netherlands until the Remote Gambling Act comes in force in July 2021, such advertisements are entirely unauthorized.

Penalty Increase

The KSA issued a warning one week ago, prohibiting unsolicited promotions that take advantage of the coronavirus situation. Since the advertisements are still present online, the Dutch authorities decided to raise the original amount of the fine by €50,000. It brings the total amount of penalty up to €250,000. The KSA added that a 25% increase of the fine for online gambling is not the limit, and the sum will keep growing if non-compliance to the regulations remains.

Nowadays, the licensed offline casino chains in the Netherlands have the full right to advertise their services. If they decide to publish recommendations or references regarding the coronavirus, without using the situation for promotional purposes, they will not be subject to any penalty fees. Such notices include, for example, statements of not being able to conduct draws or host gaming sessions due to the pandemic.

Strict Policies

The KSA already has a previous history of fining gambling service providers that do not follow the regulations. In 2019, for instance, the KSA charged Bwin €350,000 for offering online gambling services within the territory of the Netherlands. Trannel International Limited had to pay the penalty worth €470,000 for giving their online users a payment option in Dutch.

The Remote Gambling Act

René Jansen, a KSA chairman, mentioned that taking advantage of the coronavirus situation for promotional purposes will have a negative influence on online casinos that apply for a license under the Remote Gambling Act. Online gambling will become legal in the Netherlands, starting from the 1st of July, 2021. The gambling operators will be able to submit their license applications six months prior to that.

The estimate of the influence of the Remote Gambling Act on the Dutch gambling industry is extremely promising. Only by the end of the first year of the new regulation being in force, it should bring in approximately 300 million euros of gross revenue.

The proximity of the legalization of online gambling in the Netherlands, as well as the complicated global situation caused by COVID-19, leaves no doubt why the KSA is raising the penalty fees for ads of unsolicited operators.

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Dutch Authorities Increase Unsolicited Gambling Ads Fine to €250,000

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