Dutch gambling regulator the Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) has said that it will increase fines levied on any igaming operator that uses the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic to promote their products by at least €50,000 (£45,501/$53,924).
The regulator said it had noticed both operators using Covid-19 to promote their offerings, using terms such as “Coronavrij gokken” (Corona-free gambling) to do so.
As a result operators, affiliates, review sites and unlicensed land-based operators would all face a 25% increase in the current penalty for illegal activity, meaning the minimum fine would start at €250,000.
This may be increased further, based on the content of the ad in question.
Licensed, land-based operators, meanwhile, were also warned not to reference Covid-19 in their marketing, as Article 4A of the current Gambling Act states that operators must moderate advertising. References to the current situation, the KSA said, would be considered a breach of this regulation. Notices stating that games or prize draws must be cancelled, adjusted or postponed as a result of the pandemic would not be considered an advertisement, however.
The pledge comes after the regulator earlier this week said that since the mass closure of gaming venues due to the outbreak of Covid-19, it had seen an increase in advertising by online operators.
iGaming remains illegal in the country, until the market opens for business from July 2021, after the Remote Gambling Act comes into force from 1 January. The new market will officially open on 1 July 2021, with gross gaming revenue expected to reach €300m the first full year of operation.