July 21, 2022
Since the legalization of online games of chance, much of the public debate has been about the duty of care that legal online providers have for their players. This may also be due to myself: I publicly called on the sector and individual companies several times to take their duty of care extremely seriously, in response to signals that not all providers are equally 'zealous' and effective in this.
But strict implementation of the duty of care is certainly not the only factor in creating a safe environment for players – the objective of the Remote Gambling Act (Koa). An equally important variable is the approach to tackling the remaining illegal online offer. I realize that this has been a less visible activity of the Ksa lately. However, our inspectors certainly did not sit on their hands.
Even before the opening of the legal online market on October 1, 2021, we are taking the first, but big, step in the fight against illegality. In September we announced our new enforcement and fines policy . The fines were significantly increased and from 1 October (among other things) the number of players at illegal providers will be included in the consideration of which illegal providers should be tackled first. The new policy has been formulated in part to protect legal providers. After all, they went to great lengths to obtain a permit. The result was that many illegal providers voluntarily ensured that their offer became inaccessible from the Netherlands. Apparently the ground was getting too hot under her feet; see also what I said about this in a speech in Aprilat the Annual Gaming Industry Event.
Has the illegal online offer completely disappeared? No Unfortunately. We continuously monitor web traffic and social media for illegal online providers and track signals. Since October last year, we have investigated about 200 websites. Under the threat of a cease and desist order, many illegal providers go black. This is not visible to the outside world, but it is fast and effective. However, we are not allowed to name these illegal providers by name.
What we have always done in the fight against illegality is to track down so-called affiliates who promote illegal games of chance . Just like offering illegal games of chance, advertising them is prohibited. In addition, we have been urging payment service providers for some time not to facilitate illegal providers. In response to this, regular payment methods are already much less available from illegal providers. In the new enforcement policy, a warning is first issued when the facilitation of illegal gambling providers is established. If that does not help, you will receive a binding instruction to discontinue this service. The latter is a new power of the Ksa since the Koa Act came into force.
Unfortunately, it doesn't work that we can shoot persistent illegal providers out of the sky overnight. For example, we recently published the cease and desist order that we imposed on Gammix Limited , an order that could amount to almost EUR 4.5 million. Before such a decision is published, a lengthy legal process has been completed. And rightly so, because the interests are great and require care. Our inspectors have now handed over several reports to our lawyers for taking next steps. There is therefore also talk of 'work in progress' in this area.
With this blog I hope to have somewhat restored the balance in the image of the legalization of the online gambling market. Two things are of the utmost importance for a safe environment for people who want to gamble online: legal providers treat players responsibly and a strict approach to illegal providers. The Ksa stands up for both.