Dutch gambling regulator targets operators for ad placement

Dutch regulator

Dutch gambling operators are being slammed for marketing their services on websites frequented by children.

According to local media outlets, the country’s gambling authority, the Kansspelautoriteit, has summoned six Dutch operators due to the appearance of gambling ads on websites that children access.

The regulator sent the operators, including Holland Casino, Nationale Postcode Loterij, Staatsloterij, and Bankgiroloterij cease and desist letters, due to ads promoting their services showing up on online video gaming websites. The sites include scholieren.com, donaldduck.nl, and spelletjes.nl, and are regularly visited by minors.

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Current legislation, introduced in 2013, bans gambling operators from advertising on sites targeting minors, and they must cease operations until the adverts have been taken down. If the operators continue to offer their services while the advertisements remain, they risk hefty fines of up to €100,000.

New reforms to the current legislation were also introduced in May, banning online gambling operators and their affiliates from targeting Dutch casino players by using specific symbols, like tulips and windmills. Additionally, .nl affiliate websites can no longer direct players to .com online gambling websites.

In August, several gambling affiliates and operators received cease and desist letters and faced fines of up to €21,000 if they failed to comply with the order. According to the country’s gambling regulator, the affiliates targeted Dutch players while promoting several gambling services.

A month later, the Dutch government announced plans to introduce a gambling tax rate rise of 1.1 percent, increasing it up from 29 percent to 30.1 percent. The tax rate is expected to be enforced as soon as the new gambling legislation is signed into law.

The government is planning on legalising online casino games and other gambling forms, and may permit offshore casino operators to offer their services in the Netherlands, provided they apply and receive a license from Kansspelautoriteit.

However, there are rumours gambling operators will need to have a physical presence in the country. It’s not clear if it means the operator will need to have a land-based casino or if it simply needs to have an office set up in the country.

While the bill made some progress last year, it has stalled somewhat. The Remote Gaming Bill passed the Dutch Lower House last summer and is awaiting approval by the Senate, where it has remained ever since due to political changes in the country. However, the Vice President of the Dutch Gaming Authority, Henk Kesler, has said it will be approved in 2019.

Under the tax hike terms, operators will only have to pay the new tax for six months after the new legislation is signed into law before it drops to the original 29 percent rate.

While several gambling operators exited the Dutch market after the new regulatory rules were introduced earlier in the year, they may return once the gambling legislation has finally been approved, depending on their stance towards the tax rate.

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