Dutch gambling regulator Kansspelautoriteit in a message on its official website slammed online gambling operators advertising ‘corona-free’ offering amid a global pandemic.
The regulatory body tasked with overseeing gambling activities in the Netherlands said Tuesday that it has witnessed increased advertising activity by many iGaming companies and their advertisers as they look to take advantage of the closure of physical gambling facilities in the face of the global Covid-19 crisis.
Kansspelautoriteit said that it finds this unacceptable and that it would take actions against the use of a worldwide health crisis for ramping up business.
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases has passed the 1,700 mark in the Netherlands. The dangerous virus has so far claimed 43 lives in the country.
Last week, all of the nation’s Holland Casino properties were shuttered in response to the spread of Covid-19. The gambling venues will remain closed until at least April 6, leaving Dutch gamblers with no legal option to continue to play casino games.
The Netherlands is in the middle of reorganizing its online gambling market. Currently, many international companies are servicing Dutch customers without being authorized to do so by Kansspelautoriteit. This is set to change next year when the country’s new gambling law is set to take effect.
Penalties for ‘Corona-Free’ Offerings
Kansspelautoriteit Chairman René Jansen said Tuesday that it has come to their understanding that online gaming operators were luring players with ‘corona-free’ offering, which the head of the regulator found “completely objectionable.”
Mr. Jansen went on that such gambling operators and their advertiser partners have drawn Kansspelautoriteit’s “keen interest” and would be punished for their actions.
The regulatory body’s chief warned that gambling operators trying to take advantage of the current situation could not get licenses from Kansspelautoriteit for the provision of online gambling services on the territory of the Netherlands.
The country’s new Remote Gambling Act is expected to be enforced on January 1, 2020, enabling Kansspelautoriteit to start accepting license applications from operators willing to service Dutch customers in a regulated environment.
The Dutch iGaming market is expected to open six months after the new law takes effect, which means that first regulated online gaming and betting operations could go live in mid-2021.
It emerged last week that the Netherlands has extended the cooling-off period that would be implemented with the enforcement of the Remote Gambling Act and that would prevent companies that have previously targeted Dutch customers without proper authorization from immediately applying for Kansspelautoriteit licenses.
Such companies will not be able to submit their applications if they have actively targeted punters from the Netherlands within a 30-month period. This means that gambling operators that have targeted the Dutch market after July 1, 2017 will have to wait for a while before being able to enter the reorganized space.