René Jansen, Chair of the Kansspelautoriteit, has vowed to step up enforcement action in the land-based domain through the current year in a bid to combat illegal activities.
In what was dubbed as a new year’s resolution in a latest regulatory blog entry, which featured a comparison to that much heard exercising pledge at the turn of another 12 months, the Dutch gambling authority has stressed that “we will put this into practice”.
Despite stressing that enforcement through the past year “took place mainly in the online domain,” with 2023 already witnessing a fine of €900,000 be imposed on Shark77 for unregulated activity, the Ksa is committing to inspectors travelling the country more often through 2023.
In collaboration with key partners across the country, the regulator is to up its search of physically offered illegal games of chance, which could range from operating slot machines, poker, bingo or lotteries without a licence to the gambling kiosks used for illegal sports betting.
“I see an increasing focus on the theme of ‘undermining’; in other words, the domain where the underworld and the upper world (threaten to) get mixed together,” Jansen wrote.
“Besides warm political interest in this topic in The Hague, many municipalities are also looking for ways to combat undermining in order to deter and disrupt criminals.”
Noting the Ksa has “an important role to play,” Jansen has said an impending recruitment of additional officers will follow to expand capacity, as well as alliances being maintained with partners such as regional and national information and expertise centres.
“That way, fruitful cooperation comes about more effectively, and this working method helps to build regional networks and information positions,” he noted.
Adding: “If ‘physical illegal supply’ has a romanticised old-fashioned image of a game of bingo in a dimly lit room, behind a curtain, in a brown café with a few small prizes on the counter, I have to disappoint.
“In reality, these are criminals who miss no opportunity to launder their criminally earned money and who have not included the word “duty of care” in their vocabulary. Incidentally, small-scale physical gambling does still exist.
“During the last World Cup, for instance, a pub was reprimanded for organising a pool where people could gamble on the outcome of matches for an amount of money. Because that too falls under an illegal game of chance.”
Despite acknowledging that new year’s resolutions “are not always kept for long,” Jansen concluded by reiterating a vow that “we will persevere and carry on!”