A total of 15 ‘so-called’ affiliates have been targeted by the Kansspelautoriteit, the Netherlands’ Gambling Authority, for promoting illegal online games of chance.
Of the 15 websites, 13 have been subjected to a penalty, or will be subject to one soon, whilst an additional two are still under investigation by the authority.
The 15 sites were found to have been advertising unlicensed online games of chance, a violation of the Netherlands’ KOA Gambling Act regulatory framework, after 22 investigations were conducted.
Initially consisting of a cease and desist order, the KSA would conduct follow up inspections against the 15 affiliate advertisers in question to ensure that any illicit activity had been stopped.
If the Dutch regulator found that the violation was repeated, it has outlined that the ‘imposed penalty will be forfeited’ and ‘must be paid’.
However, Kansspelautoriteit did note some of the affiliates under investigation ‘immediately discontinued’ activities that were in violation of the Gambling Act upon receiving the cease and desist order, instead switching their efforts to advertising for licensed legal gambling firms.
Offering games of chance without a licence is prohibited under the terms of the KOA Act overseeing the Netherlands recently launched online gambling sector, as is advertising of any unlicensed products.
Further terms of the KOA Act mean 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.
Additionally all regulated operators are required to conduct marketing in line with Dutch TV licensing rules, prohibiting the televised promotion of games of chance between 6am and 7pm.
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 Goeij, 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.