Dutch Regulator Slams Opportunistic Operators

Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), the regulator of the Netherlands’ gaming sector has slammed online casino operators who have been encouraging users to play casino games during the COVID-19 shutdown.

The KSA have also announced that the pandemic could cause delays to some of its operations, including licence applications. Specifically, the regulator warns of potential delays for operators seeking a licence to provide slot machines games, run a lottery or to gain a trademark for a new machine. In a statement, the KSA explained the likely issues:

“It may also take longer for a change request to be processed, for example in the context of a current permit. The current situation can also cause ongoing legal proceedings to be delayed, for example because mail items are not received on time.”

But the KSA have also taken the time to criticise unlicensed operators, for what they describe as attempts to take advantage of the closure of land-based facilities. Last week, a decision was made to close all of the 14 land-based casinos in the Netherlands until April, but in the days since that decision was taken, online casino operators have increased their advertising.

Currently, it is illegal to offer online casino games to Netherlands citizens, as the Remote Gaming Act, which will legalise the sector, does not come into effect until the start of 2021. But according to the Chairman of the Board of Directors at the KSA, Rene Jansen, some illegal sites have been attempting to attract customers in the Netherlands, with some even referring to ‘corona-free gaming’.

Jansen said that this was unacceptable and that operators that use such advertising, along with their advertisers, will attract the KSA’s interest. Jansen also made it clear that any operator found to be advertising in this way would find that their activities would have a negative effect on any future attempt to gain a licence in the regulated market.

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