- Netherlands considers online casino law its regulator clamps down on offshore operators
- Domain names and advertising are out, as are waffles, clogs and windmills
Holland’s casino and gaming regulator has been keeping itself busy of late, with its latest aim of cracking down on underage online casino use in the country. In its endeavour to protect the nation’s youth from the threat of online casino wagering, the regulator has targeted operators.
At present, it’s specifically concerned with entities who use the sort of icons and emblems that are likely to appeal to a particularly youthful audience as it vows to take a tough stance on any illegal online casino betting.
Crackdown on remote operators
The Dutch government’s Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) is worried about the dangers presented by “remote gambling” and specifically those offshore companies that are targeting Dutch players. It has particularly focused on those operators whose marketing appears cynically designed to prey on the sort of themes that are likely to entice underage customers.
The range of offences which the KSA deems unacceptable is extensive and even includes online casino and gambling sites that offer their services in Dutch. Some argue that this is a little excessive given that there will be many Dutch gamblers based overseas who are legally entitled to play at such sites.
The KSA has recently broadened its list of offences, which now include using a .nl domain to direct players to a .com site. It’s even targeted offshore operators who don’t use geo-blocking software to prevent Dutch IPs from being able to access their site. Of course, it is somewhat easy for Holland’s regulator to draw up such a wish list of practices it wishes to see eliminated. Convincing offshore companies to comply with these requests is quite another matter though.
Clogs, waffles and windmills
The KSA appears to be quite protective of Dutch intellectual property in general, even expressing a dislike for companies using images of clogs, windmills and syrup waffles to promote their bonuses. European gambling operators who’ve previously ran afoul of the KSA will be able to vouch that the Netherlands’ gambling operator means business. They’re not shy of issuing six-figure fines to companies that are deemed to have flouted the law. The KSA doesn’t even issue warning letters now, instead giving offenders fines with no right of appeal.
The amount of fines the KSA has issued and the amount it has collected though tells another story: of the €1.69 million in fines that have been handed down since 2013, less than a third have been collected and since 2015 the KSA hasn’t collected a penny.
There is, if not a flurry, certainly a murmur, of activity in the Dutch gambling and casino industry at present. The Netherlands’ upper house is at present considering a Remote Gaming Bill – albeit one that has encountered a number of delays in the past. If it passes this time it could effectively mean that the Netherlands launches its online gambling market towards the end of 2017. So, what does this latest step by the KAS have to do with it? On the face of it, not much. But, a cursory search online will reveal that the country’s regulator has a history of imposing fines on offshore – or remote – operators that provide services to Dutch nationals. This latest attempt seems little different. Although, one could rightly argue that an attempt to crackdown on underage online casino use is a worthy campaign that other regulators should focus their efforts on more. Whether it happens is another matter. The KSA’s history reveals a lack of following up on many of its fines. As an operator, would it make you take the threat seriously? Time will tell.
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