Online gaming operators in the Netherlands have been subdued to heavy criticism from the gambling regulator in the country, Kansspelautoriteit /KSA/, for their increased advertising activity seeking to channel players towards online services that are currently illegal.
No Legal Alternative To Land-Based Gaming Facilities
As the global spread of the coronavirus /Covid-19/ continues and local and national authorities join forces to halt the outbreak, licensed gaming operators, arcades and casinos, across the Netherlands have been forced to close doors to help a nationwide effort to slow the infection. There is no legal alternative for players in the country as online gambling is not open until July 2021, though the Remote Gaming Act will come into force from January1, 2021.
However, the country regulator has pointed out, during these times when legal land-based facilities are being closed, an increase in advertising for online gaming has been witnessed. Online operations are currently illegal, and respectively, advertising for illegal gambling is also illegal, even players who entertain games from illegal operators risk being punished.
Online Operators Utilize “Completely Objectionable” Advertising Methods
The KSA has stated that it is totally unacceptable for some companies to take advantage of the coronavirus-induced situation and lure customers towards their online operations, even advertising its products as Corona-free. The regulator is determined to keep the market free of such an immoral approach and punish operators that have endorsed such practices when they start considering their applications for a license, threatening that such advertising might even turn the operators’ cart upside down.
“The parties that do this, the providers themselves as well as their advertisers, can count on the KSA’s keen interest. Parties that use this type of practice can be assured that this will weigh heavily in a possible application for an online gambling licence.” René Jansen, Chairman, KSA
As per the Remote Gaming Act, the KSA will have the licensing and oversight power over every legal online gambling operator, essentially deciding which one will enter the market and which one will not. The recent criticism the Dutch regulator launched should be a red flag for any other online company that is willing to mop up clients from land-based gaming facilities while the latter are being closed due to the coordinated effort to stop the Covid-19 pandemic.
The KSA is again showing its determination to provide strict but fair gaming regulatory framework, and recently its enforcement actions got the support in a court ruling against text-based promotions for online games of chance.