Netherlands gaming regulator cracking down on illegal affiliate sites
The gambling authority for the Netherlands, Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), has issued strong warnings for illegal affiliate sites that lure gamblers with the promise of being able to gamble without ‘CRUKS’. The gambling watchdog discovered a number of these gambling sites after initiating an investigation into websites promoting illegal gambling.
According to a release by the KSA, these sites attract problem gamblers and vulnerable people by using domains like casinozondercruks (“casino without cruks”) and casinozondervergunning (“casino without licence”) and traffic gotten is then redirected to unlicensed operators, in clear breach of the KSA’s rules. These affiliate sites are then paid for the web traffic they redirected.
Short for Centraal Register Uitsluiting Kansspelen, CRUKS is a national self-exclusion list created by the Dutch government to protect citizens who are addicted or have experienced addiction to gambling. With the list, these players are blocked from gambling on any licensed site for a pre-determined time to prevent them from experiencing further harm. According to the country’s Remote Gambling Act established by the country in October 2021, all licensed casinos must be integrated with the CRUKS database or be at risk of getting their licenses suspended or cancelled. This is so they can consult the CRUKS for every player visiting their site.
However, illegal websites prey on players who are vulnerable by employing affiliate sites such as the ones the KSA discovered to do their dirty job. The KSA itself reiterated that the promotion of illegal sites is as much a crime as running them. In its words: “The KSA thinks it’s extra bad that these affiliates focus on problem players. In addition to offering games of chance without a licence, promoting illegal offerings is also prohibited.”
This latest regulatory sweep is coming after the authority cracked down on 15 affiliates in December 2021 for illegal promotion of online games of chance. Earlier this month, the KSA sanctioned two unnamed online operators for not putting enough gambling controls in place for players. It also warned land-based operators in June to be careful they do not bypass the CRUK, as it is prepared to sanction any breach of the rules.
“Failure to check players or ignore a Cruks registration is very serious,” the KSA said. “These players registered with Cruks precisely because they have problems with gambling and are no longer in control.”
Ever since its new gaming laws came into effect last year, the Dutch government through the KSA has been particular about maintaining a safe, fair and standard gambling ecosystem for its citizens. This is only one of the many ways it protects the market.