14 out of 33 websites in violation

Dutch Gambling Authority cracks down on illegal providers who lured players via affiliate gambling websites

Reading time 1:35 min

The Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), the Dutch Gambling Authority, announced that it conducted two investigations into advertising for illegal gambling offers via affiliate websites and websites of online newspapers last year. Through these websites, consumers were enticed to gamble with illegal providers of online gambling – especially if consumers were registered in the Centraal Register Uitsluiting Kansspelen (Cruks), the country's gambling exclusion scheme for problem gamblers.

As a result of the investigations, the KSA said that it took several actions against the websites that were in violation: of those investigated, 14 out of 33 websites were in violation of local regulations. The authority said that tackling illegal providers will also be a high priority for the KSA in 2024.

Even though advertising illegal offers is prohibited, the KSA said that it received several signals about the issue. For example, playing without Cruks was advertised. Cruks is the Central Register for the Exclusion of Gambling (gokstop.nl), and players registered in Cruks cannot play with legal providers. Actively advertising to this target group is a violation.

One investigation by the KSA focused on websites that tempted consumers to play with illegal providers through advertisements on their websites, and they specifically focused on vulnerable players. The KSA thus investigated the most visited affiliate websites and found violations at four websites, but noted that "the website owners seemed to be hiding." Therefore, the KSA started a follow-up investigation.

The KSA’s other investigation focuses on affiliate marketing for illegal online casinos after the ban on un-targeted advertising came into effect. It was expected that from July 2023, illegal providers would try to take advantage of the possible reduced visibility of legal providers. The KSA investigated various reports about illegal affiliates and found that ten websites were in violation.

A proposed sanction decision by the KSA ensured that five of them immediately stopped the violation. The investigation into the five other websites is still ongoing.
These investigations also revealed that seven illegal casinos were being advertised. The KSA has started a sanctions process against all seven illegal providers.

In addition, six online newspapers were contacted by telephone and letter. "The KSA considers it undesirable that the public is referred via these channels to affiliates who advertise illegal games of chance," the authority says. After contacting the KSA, these parties took immediate action and the advertisements were no longer seen on the websites of the newspapers.

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