Dutch regulators say they could block access to offshore sites and payments at any time

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With only 11 licenses issued and active so far in Holland, the Dutch Gaming Authority, Kansspelautoriteit, (DGA) has announced that it plans to use all of the tools at its disposal including internet blackouts to keep Dutch players from gambling at unlicensed offshore online casinos.

The regulator says it has no way to help players retrieve their funds if it stops players from accessing the sites and warned that residents should withdraw their funds while they still have a chance stating: “There are no guarantees that illegal providers will refund money if they can no longer be reached from the Netherlands”.

The current status of a license application status would not matter with blackout rules going into effect for operators who are waiting for approval just as they would for any other unlicensed entity. Kindred Group, LeoVegas, and Betsson are known to be in the process of getting approval to join the small league of authorized operators who have been in business with the KSA’s blessings since October.

After a rocky launch due to the country’s Responsible Gambling tools not being in order, an 11th operator, JOI Gaming under the trade name jacks.nl was issued a license in November.

Enforcement Actions Would Come as no Surprise

The regulator has said from the outset that it would protect the licensed operators by aggressively enforcing prohibitions against unlicensed operators. Among the cudgels most often used are blocking IPs through administrative orders to service providers as well as payment blocking to known entities. On the operator end, they can also increase fines and penalties against those who operate in breach of the law.

Players in various unregulated or overregulated markets worldwide have shown an ability to get around almost any obstacle a state actor or monopoly can throw in their path, including players in China who must overcome multiple roadblocks like the Great Firewall of China.

The Netherlands currently enjoys one of the highest ratings in the world for freedom, including internet freedoms with one observer granting Holland a 98 out of 100 rating.

Dutch authorities are aware they may be walking a thin line and are attempting to coax licensed operators to follow socially responsible guidelines in advertising and other incentives for players.

In its inaugural blog post of 2022, René Jansen, chair of the Dutch Gaming Authority, said that the KSA is facing pressure to ban gambling promotions. He stated, “[It is] clear that political patience when it comes to the subject is very limited”.

He added that the reality is a bit dicier because “some degree of advertising is needed to entice players to switch from illegal to legal providers, but don’t overdo it, I would say. Otherwise, the shore turns the ship.”

At least two dozen websites have been under the regulator’s microscope since late last year with more being added to the list since that time. The KSA said that those operators will “soon hear that they are under investigation and enforcement action will be taken.”

Players Always Have Options

While many offshore sites ban the use of VPNs or other cloaking technology for casino play, it’s unclear if banking or other administrative player account maintenance would fall under the restrictions. Players who are currently unable to cash out or unconcerned about cashing out their balances at a trusted but unlicensed offshore casino should contact customer service to make sure gateways will exist if or when the KSA enforces its authority.

Source: Dutch regulator warns of impending blackout of illegal providers, Casinobeats, January 31, 2022