New advertising standards introduced by Dutch gambling regulator

Initially, the Dutch regulatory body Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) recently fired a warning salvo at the Corona, Malta-based Betsson subsidiary Kroon and Oranje brand of online casinos by imposing a fine amounting to €300k. The KSA awarded the penalty to the casino brand for operating, providing, and accepting online gambling entertainment services to punters residing within the Dutch regulatory body’s jurisdictional borders without completing the necessary procedures to obtain full authorisation from the KSA.

Prior to imposing the fine, the KSA launched an investigative enquiry into alleged unauthorised activities that occurred from 31 May 2017 to 8 August of the same year. The resultant report indicated Betsson’s Dutch facing operational services had in fact alerted Dutch visitors of the illegality of their actions but failed to block or remove such site access points.

Thereafter the KSA lined-up, one of the industry’s foremost casino brands Mr Green Casino, in its sights and subsequent to another malfeasance investigation imposed a penalty of €312,500 for its actions in committing a similar infringement of the Dutch regulator’s rules. The KSA broke the news in an announcement made on Wednesday from the Netherlands, stating the Dutch regulator would in fact on 17 July impose a penalty of €312,500 on Mr Green Casino for delivering its online gambling product and services to a player audience residing in the Netherlands without first obtaining the required, stipulated licencing agreement. Although prior to the announcement Mr Green, in a preventive effort, decided to challenge the issue in court.

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The imposing of the fine is the direct result of a prior investigative report by the KSA into earlier allegations accusing Mr Green of failing to prevent Dutch residents from gaining access to the award-winning online casino entertainment venue and allowing the placing and acceptance of wagers from said Dutch visitors over a period spanning 13 July to 7 November 2017. In addition to the above transgression, the casino offered a number of Dutch-friendly services one of which features a Dutch site language option as well as several of the most used Dutch payment methods including the iDEAL finance brand.

Mr Green chose to counter the Dutch gambling policy for inconsistency, quoting the European Union rules governing trade restrictions between member states. In addition, the casino operator argued its services offered with Dutch language options were made available with the intention of providing services to Dutch expatriates and included in its argument that geo-blocking of countries proved challenging.

Mr Green shares the concerns and sentiments of the similarly fined Dutch-facing Betsson operations that its recent sentencing and subsequent fines may in the future impair its ability to successfully apply for and receive jurisdictional licences to continue carrying out its online gambling operations. This, the operator argued, amounts to a double penalisation for perpetrating a singular offence. The KSA responded to these arguments saying nothing in the Dutch bill regulating remote gambling operations indicates an operator would be barred from applying for and receiving future licences, according to a statement from the Dutch Minister of Justice and Security in the Netherlands.