The Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), the Dutch Gambling Authority, has taken action against 15 advertisers, labelling the firms as ‘so-called affiliates’, for marketing illegal gambling products.
A total of 22 investigations were conducted by the authority, which found that 15 websites had been advertising unlicensed online games of chance in violation of the terms of the KOA Gambling Act.
Of the 15 advertisers, 13 have been subjected to a penalty by Dutch authorities, or will be in the near future, whilst an additional two are still under investigation.
The penalty imposed initially takes the form of a cease and desist order, after which the KSA conducts subsequent follow up inspections to ensure that the order is being followed. If the violation has been found to have repeatedly occurred then the ‘imposed penalty will be forfeited’ and ‘must be paid’.
Kansspelautoriteit acknowledged that ‘in some cases’ the affiliates under investigation ‘immediately discontinued’ activities that were in violation of the Gambling Act upon receiving the cease and desist order and switched to advertising for licensed legal gambling firms.
Under the terms of the Gambling Act governing the Netherlands newly launched online betting and gaming marketplace, offering games of chance without a licence is prohibited.
Additional caveats of the KOA licencing regime with regards to advertising require all regulated operators to conduct marketing in line with Dutch TV licensing rules, prohibiting the televised promotion of games of chance between 6am and 7pm.
Furthermore, 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.
These requirements have faced criticism from the Netherlands Online Gambling Association (NOGA), however, with the organisation’s Managing Director, Peter-Paul de Goeji, arguing that the regime provides an unfair advantage to land-based companies, land-based operators planning to go online – due to tighter restrictions on online businesses – and lotteries.