Dutch Regulator Issued 14 Warnings for COVID-19-related Ads

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While the online gambling industry is yet to be legalized in the Netherlands, some 14 warnings were sent out by the KSA. The KSA found operators that used COVID-19-related messages as a part of their advertising and asked those advertisements to be removed.

Online Gambling Operators in the Netherlands Received Warnings

Some 14 warnings were sent out to gambling operators in the Netherlands by the country’s regulator Kansspelautoriteit (KSA). The warnings were sent out because some online gambling operators have featured COVID-19 related messages as a part of their advertisement efforts. The regulator noted that 14 operators have used the phrase: “Coronavrij gokken“, which translates to “corona-free gambling.”  Consequently, once the warnings were issued by the KSA, all 14 advertisements were removed. Furthermore, the KSA noted that if the operators had not complied, fines were planned.

Back in March, the Dutch regulator introduced a minimum fine amount set at €250,000 (£227,615/$290,254). This fine was applicable for all gambling operators who would use phrases related to novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and not remove their advertisements when asked by the regulator. With that in mind, although online gambling in the Netherlands is still illegal, the KSA noted in March that it observed many operators aiming at audiences within the country. According to the regulator, those operators used advertisings, which were related to the COVID-19 outbreak.

All online gambling operators in the Netherlands must follow the regulations set by the KSARené Jansen, KSA chairman, has said that operators who are found to use COVID-19 related advertisements may find it more difficult to receive a license, once the regulated market is set up.

The Launch of the Gambling Market in the Netherlands Pushed Back by COVID-19

The regulated gambling market in the Netherlands is expected to be established in July, 2021. However, in light of the recent events surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic across the globe, this process may be delayed even further. Here, it’s important to mention that the launch of the regulated market was already delayed with six months before. With that in mind, earlier this month, Dutch Minister for Legal Protection Sander Dekker said that a further delay of the roll-out on the regulated market may be expected.

Although the regulated market is still work in progress, the KSA already criticized the national government on points regarding short-term self-exclusion. According to the regulator, those measures are set out to protect the players from gambling-related harm. The current self-exclusion scheme, Centraal Register Uitsluiting Kansspelen (Cruks) lets the players exclude themselves for a period no less than six months.

The KSA criticized the Cruks scheme, saying that it is not efficient and may result in higher addiction. Instead, the regulator said that gamblers should have the option to self-exclude for shorter periods such as 24 hours. Furthermore, the KSA noted that cool-down periods would also be beneficial for players.

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