The Dutch Gambling Authority, Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), has admitted that its ongoing use of fines against operators to punish illegal gambling violations within the Netherlands has had “little effect” toward reducing the volume of online gaming. In a consultation document on its 2019 strategy, the KSA has stated that a significant amount of the fines they’ve levied go unpaid simply because the firms involved operate outside the country, and therefore outside the jurisdiction where those fines can be enforced.
The Authority also stated that contributing to the high number of infractions is the fact that there is an “undiminishing” demand for online gambling in the Netherlands and that there seems to be a prevailing lack of awareness among Dutch consumers that online gambling is illegal (within the territory).
In order to address these problems, the KSA has confirmed that it is seeking out “innovative possibilities to reduce illegal online offers of chance games as much as possible, or to make them less accessible to the consumer.”
Frank Tolboom of Dutch legal firm Kalff Katz & Franssen said the complaint was designed to put “pressure on politicians to expedite the legislative process”. The country’s Remote Gambling Bill was passed by the legislature’s lower chamber three years ago but has only been scheduled for a debate and possible vote by the Dutch Senate in mid-February, 2019.
“They want new tools to tackle unlicensed operators. These tools can only be provided once the new law has entered into force,” Tolboom added. “We don’t think that the KSA will stop with issuing fines, however. Fines can remain unpaid but act as an important ‘stick’ since fined operators will not be eligible for a licence at market opening, meaning opening a new online casino to cater local residents.”
The KSA confirmed intense preparations for the online casino legislation, showing their confidence that the remote gaming bill will finally be passed with the upcoming vote. Development of a licensing process has begun, but there has not been any word on when, exactly, it would be implemented.
The KSA has also confirmed that it is devising rules and measures that would “counteract a disproportionate increase in advertising” by gambling companies, stating that they will expect licensed operators to advertise in an “understated” manner.