Dutch KSA penalises licensed operator for ‘misleading’ advertising

The Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), the Dutch Gambling Authority, has issued its first sanction against operator licensed under the KOA Act for sports betting advertising breaches. 

Accusing the unnamed company of using misleading advertising to promote its sports betting offering, the KSA statted that the firm had placed ‘so-called odds’ on a site containing news about football.

By clicking on a quote about the odds, consumers were redirected to the site of the licence holder, a marketing technique which is forbidden under KOA Act advertising requirements.

“The Gambling Act says that advertising must be careful and not mislead,” the KSA explained. “When advertising an online game of chance, it must be clear that it concerns advertising and from whom the advertising originates. 

“A number of information obligations must also be met. This also applies when advertising is made via another party, such as in this case a website with football news.”

Upon informing the operator in question that the advertisement was misleading and in violation of information obligations, the firm withdrew the ad after being ordered by the KSA to either remove or adjust it within a day and a half.

In addition to prohibiting misleading forms of advertising, the KOA Act regime contains a number of other provisions relating to marketing, notably banning televised gambling advertisements between 6am and 7pm.

Additional requirements mean that advertising campaigns cannot feature endorsements by individuals under the age of 25 or target those in the age bracket of 18-to-24, and sporting figures are banned from promoting betting and gaming firms.

Lastly, advertising content cannot recommend gambling as a means of making money to players, and detailed terms and conditions on any offered bonuses must be displayed across all marketing campaigns.

Although this is the first instance of the KSA taking enforcement actions against one of the eleven operators licensed in the newly launched regulated environment, the authority did enact sanctions against 13 affiliates last week – with investigations pending against an additional two – for promoting unlicensed games of chance. 

Some of the regime’s advertising requirements have been criticised, however, with Peter-Paul de Goeji, Managing Director of the Netherlands Online Gambling Association (NOGA), arguing that the certain caveats provide an unfair advantage to land-based companies, land-based operators planning to go online – due to tighter restrictions on online businesses – and lotteries.

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