COVID-19 statement Ksa
René Jansen, Chairman of the Ksa Board of Directors: ‘We notice that illegal online operators are trying to cash in on the current situation. That is unacceptable. We have even observed consumers being enticed into what is being touted as a ‘corona-free offering’. Utterly reprehensible. The parties that are engaging in such activities – operators as well as their advertisers – can expect increased scrutiny by the Ksa. Parties employing these kinds of practices can be assured that this will have a severely negative impact on a possible application for an online gambling licence.’
Marketing slogans such as ‘corona-free gambling’ used by gambling operators and advertisers will be regarded as an aggravating circumstance justifying the imposition of higher fines. Fines will be increased by at least 50,000 euros. Offering gambling options via the internet is in any case prohibited in the Netherlands. The fine for this usually starts at 200,000 euros. Any promotion of ‘corona-free gambling’ will attract a fine increased by 50,000 euros, although this increase could be even higher in certain cases depending on the nature and extent of the advertising. Illegal operators of physical gambling products will also be fined more heavily if they promote their offer with references to the current situation. The same applies to advertisers such as affiliate and review websites.
Offering gambling in the Netherlands
Offering gambling in the Netherlands is only allowed if a licence has been granted for this. Licence holders are permitted to advertise their offer, but they must do so in a scrupulous manner with the exercise of ‘due care’. Advertisements with references to the current situation cannot be characterised as such and are therefore considered an offence by the Ksa. Commercial notices issued by licensees to communicate that, in view of the current circumstances, they are obliged to cancel, adjust or postpone a game or a draw shall not be considered as advertising by the Ksa.
Online gambling market in the Netherlands
At present, Dutch law does not include any options for granting a licence for offering online gambling. However, this is slated to change soon. The new law will probably come into force on 1 January 2021. From then onwards, applications may be submitted for an online gambling licence. The online gambling market will open six months after the law comes into effect. Until then, offering online gambling is, by definition, illegal and hence it is also forbidden to advertise this in any manner.