Netherlands sports betting sites targeted

Regulators in the Netherlands say their campaign to limit sports betting sites in the country have been successful. (Image: AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

Dutch regulators don’t want sports betting sites to target consumers in the Netherlands, so they’ve gone after organizations that have tried to attract players there who want to be in on major events. Now, the Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) says that their efforts have been largely effective in cutting down on the activity from these rogue operators.

According to the KSA, a letter-writing campaign that was aimed at warning operators against targeting Dutch citizens has limited what they called “excessive” advertising of such services during the World Cup and the Tour de France, both events with major followings in the nation. In total, the KSA said they wrote letters to eight operators, and all eight have ceased the activities in question.

Companies Comply with Dutch Requests

According to the regulatory body, each of the companies has stopped promoting their brand in the Netherlands. In addition, the companies have taken additional steps, such as closing promotional websites and Dutch-language Twitter accounts that were designed to attract players to their sites.

Those actions were apparently enough to satisfy the KSA. The regulator told the eight firms that no further actions would be taken against them, thanks to their compliance with the requests made of them. However, the KSA has also reminded operators that with the Netherlands expected to enact Internet gambling laws next year, operators should cease any marketing activities within the country until that time.

Poker Advertising a Point of Emphasis Going Forward

In particular, the KSA says that it is taking a look at poker advertising. They’re also stepping up their efforts around the times of major events: for instance, for poker advertising, they’ll be making sure to pay attention to what’s going on around the final table of the World Series of Poker (WSOP), while sports betting sites will face more scrutiny near major international sporting events.

“The KSA does not expect that Dutch betting ads will disappear entirely from the Internet,” the organization wrote. “But regulations are being enforced, addressing cases which will lead to the largest risks for consumers first.”

Affiliates have also been targeted, and while their compliance hasn’t been quite as swift, the KSA reports progress on that front at all. Since the crackdown, at least two new operators have tried to step into the now largely vacated market; the KSA says they are now being investigated, as are some affiliate networks.

KSA Has Reputation for Heavy-Handed Tactics

The KSA has made headlines recently for their hands-on approach to enforcing gambling laws in the Netherlands. Last month, the regulatory body levied an €80,000 ($103,000) fine against an elderly couple that organized a lottery for a house they owned in South Africa.

That lottery was ultimately handled in Austria, and both members of the couple held Belgian passports (though one was also a Dutch citizen). However, because the contest had a website that included information in Dutch, and because of an interview about the lottery on Dutch radio, the KSA felt it was in violation of Dutch gaming laws. The KSA reportedly even went so far as to track down blog posts in order to establish that the lottery could be considered a Dutch event.

“Many people spoke about it on the Internet, but the regulator has decided to blame the couple for all the comments, as if they were the ones who wrote them or even started the discussion,” lawyer Bas Jongmans told PokerNews.