Dutch authority sharpens focus on illegal online gambling

News on 28 May 2017

The Netherlands gambling authority, Kansspelautoriteit, has introduced new criteria in its fight against illegal online gambling, not only focusing on the operator itself but, from June 1, 2017, on the software suppliers and entities powering or supporting illegal online gambling operators that target the Dutch market, including payment service providers and advertisers.

The Kansspelautoriteit already applies priority criteria in identifying illegal online gambling operators, such as Dutch language sites, domains ending in .nl and operators advertising through radio, television or print media, which it says has largely been successful as many providers have adapted their websites to ensure they are not in breach of Dutch law.

“Nevertheless, online gaming is still available on the Dutch market, which is still specific and undeniable,” the authority said, leading to an expansion in its monitoring criteria that will include the
use of domain names containing typical Dutch-referenced terms in combination with gambling (such as ‘klompenbingo’ (Clogs Bingo), ‘gezelligheidspoker’ (gezelligheids is a term that embodies the heart of Dutch culture) or ‘rood-wit-blauw-casino’ (red-white-blue casino) along with visual Dutch-specific references such as windmills, Dykes and syrup waffles.

Other investigative criteria will cover payment services and the use of geoblocking systems for the first time.

In addition, Kansspelautoriteit will increase its focus regarding the participation of minors in an exploratory investigation saying it will not hesitate to initiate enforcement action.

Our readers will recall the authority had 55 gambling apps removed from the app stores last year. Monitoring of these platforms will continue.

From the beginning of 2017, the Kansspelautoriteit advised it had discontinued its policy of issuing warnings to operators it deemed were in breach of Dutch law and now institutes immediate enforcement procedures under the tenet that operators have been given enough time and should be fully aware that online gambling targeting the Dutch market is illegal under Dutch law.

The much-anticipated draft legislation to regulate online gambling, currently under consideration by the Netherlands First Chamber of the States-General, when approved will empower the authority further in terms of enforcing laws and regulations under a strict licensing regime.

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