A group of licensed Dutch gambling operators has been scolded by the Netherlands Gaming Authority, Kansspelautoriteit, for advertising their services on websites with children-oriented content. Holland Casino (the Netherlands’ exclusive casino operator), Bankgiroloterij, Nationale Postcode Loterij, and Staatsloterij (the Dutch State Lottery) were among those issued a cease and desist letter in relation to the above-mentioned violation of the Dutch advertising regulations.
As announced on Kansspelautoriteit’s website, the gambling operators, all holding licenses from Dutch gambling regulators, were found to have advertised their products and services on a number of websites that target children and youths. The websites included scholieren.com, donaldduck.nl, and spelletjes.nl. Advertising gambling services on websites that feature children-related content is strictly prohibited in the Netherlands.
The operators were issued cease and desist orders and were warned that they will be imposed hefty fines in case their ads reappear on any of the above-mentioned websites as well as on other platforms that are specifically intended for children and young people. Holland Casino and its counterparts may face financial penalties of up to €100,000 if they repeat their violations.
Kansspelautoriteit’s warning comes as part of the regulator’s strategy to strengthen its industry oversight and to reiterate its negative stance towards any violations of industry regulations. Earlier this year, the regulatory body introduced a new set of rules that practically banned the provision of unlicensed online gambling services and third-party advertising of such services.
Kansspelautoriteit’s crackdown efforts were recently focused on the growing social gaming sector.
Netherlands Gaming Authority’s Social Gaming Focus
Last month, the gambling regulator announced that it would focus more of its attention and efforts to curb the risks the proliferation of social casino games pose to vulnerable members of the population.
According to Kansspelautoriteit, there is a thin boundary between free-to-play gaming and real-money gambling and many could feel tempted to cross that boundary. A report commissioned by the regulatory body revealed that 50% of all surveyed individuals aged 24 and below have switched from social casino games to playing for real money at some point. The report also found that the Dutch social gaming market was worth around €27 million and was poised to grow even further.
It is also important to note that the Dutch gambling regulator toughened its stance towards the provision of online gambling services in the country. At present, only select Dutch businesses are allowed to provide Internet gambling services to local players. However, unlicensed international operators have been able to target Dutch customers for years now.
The Dutch government has been working on a new regulatory framework and it is believed that one might be implemented in early 2019. The new regime will make it possible for international operators to apply for a license from the local regulator and operate in a regulated environment.