There is no rest for the wicked as advertisers of illegal gambling operations try to profit from a pandemic with “corona-free gambling” ad campaigns.
The Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) has had to step in no less than 14 times over the last 4 months to put an end to these efforts, and have confirmed that repeat offenders stand the chance of receiving hefty fines, should they be caught doing it again.
Window of Opportunity
Licensed gambling is strictly controlled and monitored in the Netherlands as the KSA keeps a close watch on games of chance in all forms. However, this has not prevented gambling operators from trying to sneak under the radar and offer unlicensed online options.
It is these very online options that advertisers have been promoting during the pandemic to encourage players who have relied on live, legal establishments to cross over to the dark side. Not only is this illegal, but also unethical as these unlicensed operators are often not regulated and can leave the personal and payment details of customers at risk.
While parliamentary leaders are currently discussing the Remote Gambling Act, the law is not yet enforced. Even though there are positive indicators that the ruling may change the market in the near future, the pandemic has pressed pause on most movements for the moment.
In March 2020, the Minister for Legal Protection, Sander Dekker, submitted documents to Parliament and one of these related to the Remote Gambling Act where further amendments were elaborated on. Once the lockdown is lifted, more details are expected to come to light and clarity around timelines will be confirmed.
Failure in Future
The KSA set a minimum penalty in place of €250,000 (£227,615/$290,254) for advertisers who try to profit from the pandemic through irresponsible advertising.
KSA chairman René Jansen also stated that operators found to be guilty of this offence could be penalised further when they tried to apply for a remote gambling license in the future.
So, while the pandemic puts policies on hold indefinitely, operators are urged to practice patience as not to penalise themselves on a long-term basis.
As the impacts of the novel Coronavirus drag on and affects all forms of business across the world, it isn’t surprising to see operators throwing all caution to the wind to stay afloat.
There is no doubt that the world will be a different place once the threat of the pandemic has passed, and companies that want to survive will need to pivot to remain profitable.