Dutch Regulator Criticises Online Casino Ads Promoting “Corona Free Gaming”

Dutch Regulator Criticises Online Casino Ads Promoting “Corona Free Gaming” March 20, 2020 March 20, 2020 Carolyn Dutton
 Legislation March 20, 2020 by Carolyn Dutton

The coronavirus pandemic has made it difficult for brick-and-mortar casinos to operate. However,  online casinos are making bank because thousands of land based players are now going online to play.

iGaming operators in the Netherlands decided to amp their advertising and promotions by using a clumsy tag ‘Corona Free Gaming’ – an attempt at letting players know there is no risk of the COVID-19 virus when you play online.  

Dutch gambling regulator Kansspelautoriteit did not care for the rather tasteless advertising and pulled up casino operators who ran such ads. 

What upset Kansspelautoriteit was that this was not an one-off ad.

The gambling regulator noticed an increase in online casinos advertising themselves as corona free and asking gamblers who were locked down to sign up for their services. Though the advertisements are technically true, Kansspelautoriteit felt that the companies were using a global pandemic to drum up business and found it unacceptable. The gambling watchdog has now promised to take action against operators who use such type of advertising.

The Netherlands has been hit hard by the coronavirus, with 1,700 cases confirmed. A total of 43 people have lost their lives because of the disease. This has caused a major shift in the land based gambling industry as casinos were closed. Casino operations are set to open again on April 6. As a result, Dutch gamblers have no access to land based casinos and are forced to go online.

This leaves Dutch gamblers very few options since the country is still reorganizing its online gambling market. Currently, any online operator can offer games in the country. But this is set to change next year with a new gambling law.

Kansspelautoriteit Sends Warning

This is why Kansspelautoriteit is flexing its muscles now. While the gaming regulator has its hands tied behind its back till the new gaming laws kick-in in 2021, Kansspelautoriteit has warned iGaming operators who use the coronavirus to drum up business that their practices will be noted and kept in mind when it comes to the issuance of online gambling licenses next year. 

The new Dutch Remote Gambling Act will become active on January 1, 2021. This is when the regulator will start accepting license applications for operations in the country. The new Dutch online gambling market will then open its doors sometime in the middle of 2021.

Carolyn is our legislation expert, with a background in law she is able to cover the current state of gambling around the world