Dutch regulator blasts illegal operators over coronavirus ads
Dutch gambling regulator the Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) has criticised unlicensed operators for publishing adverts encouraging consumers to use their illegal online services to gamble while gaming venues in the country are closed due to the outbreak of novel coronavirus (Covid-19).
Licensed gaming arcades and casinos across the Netherlands have been forced to shut their doors as part of a nationwide effort to slow the spread of Covid-19.
However, the KSA said that since the mass closure, it has 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.
However, until the market launches, it remains illegal to offer or advertise online gambling, while those consumers who play these online games, knowing that the operator is not licensed, could also face punishment.
“We see that illegal online providers are trying to take advantage of the current situation; that is unacceptable,” KSA chairman René Jansen said. “We have even seen consumers lured into what is known as a Corona-free offering. Completely objectionable.
“The parties that do this, the providers themselves as well as their advertisers, can count on the KSA’s keen interest. Parties that use this type of practice can be assured that this will weigh heavily in a possible application for an online gambling licence.”
The new market will officially open on 1 July 2021, with gross gaming revenue expected to reach €300m (£274.8m/$329.7m) in the first full year of operation.