Dutch Gaming Authority Kansspelautoriteit has imposed fines of €600,000 euros for the offering of illegal games of chance via the websites www.futgalaxy.nl and nl.futgamer.com.
This has seen Virtual Coin Gaming NV in Curaçao, the company behind the pair of offerings, penalised half a million euros, with an involved private person also fined €100,000.
In its investigation, which took place from February 12, 2018, to October 1, 2018, the KSA found that the website offered games of chance across numerous categories, adding that “the game FUT-Jackpot bears similarity with the casino game Money Wheel”.
Furthermore, it is added that both also contain loot box games packs, a simulation of those found in the ‘Ultimate Team’ mode of the FIFA video games.
The websites, billed as “an online gaming website founded to spend your Fut coins,” did not state that any business relationship exists or has existed between VCG and the publisher of the games.
It is noted by the KSA that the fine has been increased for several reasons, one of which is that it was established that minors, or young adults, had taken parts of the games of chances of offer.
The regulator cites two reports in which parents confirm play by minors on futgalaxy.nl, with one of those confirming that unwanted contact with gambling and online gambling had occurred.
Furthermore, the KSA adds that it “takes priority against illegal games of chance that specifically target Dutch consumers,” with both instances using the Dutch language and one of the sites featuring the country’s payment method iDEAL and the website extension .nl.
Online games of chance are currently prohibited in the Netherlands, a situation that is set to change later this year when the country’s online gambling market opens in September 2021.
Loot boxes, especially in the instance of in-game packs within FIFA video games, have long been a target of the KSA. Research in 2018 found that there may be a link between playing games with loot boxes and developing gambling addiction.
René Jansen, chairman of the board of directors, said at the time: “The Ksa considers it important that vulnerable groups, such as minors, are not exposed to gambling. For that reason, the Ksa advocates a strict separation between gaming and gambling.
“Gamers are often young and therefore more prone to (developing) addiction. Gambling elements therefore do not belong in games”.