The Dutch gambling regulator, Kansspelautoriteit, has further warned gambling websites and physical gambling establishments not to use the global coronavirus crisis to advertise their products after its first such warning that was issued earlier this week.
In a message posted on its official website on Thursday, Kansspelautoriteit said that advertising materials containing coronavirus-related messages, such as ‘corona-free gambling’ would be regarded as a “penalty-enhancing circumstance” if an unauthorized online gambling operator is discovered to have adopted such promotional approaches amid the global Covid-19 outbreak.
That Thursday message came on the heels of a warning made by Kansspelautoriteit earlier this week that was addressing instances of unlicensed iGaming websites and even illegal brick-and-mortar establishments trying to lure customers with ‘corona-free’ offerings.
Kansspelautoriteit said earlier this week that if an online gambling operator is caught to have adopted such promotional tactics, it could not be granted a license from the Dutch gambling regulator next year when the Netherlands’ online gambling market is set to be reorganized and liberalized.
Under the country’s current law, international online gambling companies are not allowed to target Dutch customers as they do not hold and cannot obtain licenses from Kansspelautoriteit. However, many have overstepped the rules and have faced hefty penalties from the regulator.
The closure of physical gambling establishments across the Netherlands due to the coronavirus outbreak has resulted in the surge of activity in the iGaming space, which, paired with the emergence of ‘corona-free’ offers, has prompted Kansspelautoriteit’s warnings.
Hefty Fines to Be Slapped on Unscrupulous Operators
Kansspelautoriteit said Thursday that advertising ‘corona-free’ products is a penalty-enhancing violation that increases the amount of an errant online operator’s penalty by at least €50,000.
That minimum additional fine can be raised, depending on the nature of the promotional content and its reach. Operators running illegal gambling establishments will, too, be punished more heavily if caught advertising their offering by using references to the unfolding global situation.
Kansspelautoriteit noted that the provision of online gambling services in the Netherlands is already prohibited and is subject to a minimum fine of €200,000. This means that an unauthorized operator advertising its offering by using coronavirus references could be slapped with at least €250,000 for its violations.
News about Kansspelautoriteit’s plans to severely punish companies and their advertising partners for the unscrupulous use of a global pandemic to boost their business arrives as one gambling operator – Flutter Entertainment – warned its affiliate partners not to take advantage of the Covid-19 spread and that it would immediately suspend any affiliate caught referencing to the crisis in promo content advertising Flutter’s brands, including Paddy Power and Betfair.