On July 6th, the gambling regulatory body of the Netherlands – Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) – published an interim report on its efforts to tackle illegal games of chance in the country over the first six months of 2023.
The first half of the year saw the Netherlands’ Gaming Authority successfully intervene to reduce the unlawful supply of games of chance in the country on multiple occasions. At the time, the KSA not only identified various violations but also introduced new investigative methods and imposed sanctions for the aforementioned wrongdoings.
In order to cease the illegal supply of online games of chance as quickly as possible, the Kansspelautoriteit decided to slap three providers of unlawful games of chance with periodic-based penalty payments after the companies did not cease the wrongdoings after the regulator’s initial intervention. After establishing the breach, the regulator was also able to impose an administrative fine.
The KSA also confirmed that at the end of 2022, it started investigating eight of the most-visited platforms advertising gambling products and services on whether they promote unlicensed online casino games or offer advice on how to circumvent the national self-exclusion register, Cruks. So far, the ongoing probe found that four of the eight platforms breached the Betting and Gaming Act, so the Dutch Gaming Authority is set to take various enforcement actions against them.
As the KSA shared, that method proved as one of the fastest and most effective actions in the Dutch gambling watchdog’s arsenal, as it almost immediately brought the desired result, with the gambling providers discontinuing their illegal offering. Currently, the country’s gambling watchdog is preparing a number of monetary penalty reports for various wrongdoings in the sector.
Games of Chance Provision and Advertising Not Allowed in the Netherlands
The Dutch gambling regulator has imposed a total of eight fines worth almost €30 million on illegal gambling providers of online games of chance. The financial penalties were made public in the spring of 2023.
Furthermore, it conducted more than 30 investigations into illegal offers promoted on social media platforms and got in contact with Meta on the occurrence of these violations, providing the company with more details on the alleged legislative breaches. The controversial pages violating the gambling advertising laws of the Netherlands were immediately shut down after the KSA addressed Meta about the violations.
Lately, advertising illegal games of chance has grown exponentially, as providers of unlawful online games of chance have been trying to expand their player networks. However, advertising and offering of games of chance on the Internet is not allowed under the country’s Betting and Gaming Act.
Kansspelautoriteit confirmed that such advertising usually targets vulnerable players, who are considered more likely to develop gambling addiction and suffer from gambling-related harm.
Kansspelautoriteit Investigates the Use of Cryptocurrency as Games of Chance Payment Method
According to a research held by the Kansspelautoriteit, illegal providers of games of chance are increasingly accepting cryptocurrency as a payment method. The growing popularity of cryptocurrency as a payment method in online gambling sites has urged the KSA inspectors to use a range of tools in order to find out more about the payments that illegal websites targeting Dutch customers currently allow.
It seems that cryptocurrency has been also added to the list of available payment options on illegal games of chance websites. The investigators of the country’s gambling regulator used Bitcoin on six occasions over the first six months of 2023 as a method to determine possible legislative breaches and then forced the operators who violated the rules to discontinue their offerings in the Netherlands.
The scope of KSA regulations also includes tackling unlawful land-based gambling. As part of this function, the Dutch Gaming Authority provided regulatory support to local police and municipal teams during raids and actions on a total of 42 occasions in the first six months of the year. The Kansspelautoriteit also has the right to seize slot machines and other gambling equipment that operates illegally in the country.