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Holland’s KSA is seeking out license violators

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The gambling regulator in Holland, Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) has announced what the regulator considers to be a significant reduction in the number of unlicensed online gambling sites in the Netherlands while reminding licensed sites that consumer protection rules will be stringently enforced.

Chairman René Jansen said that of nearly 160 sites the regulator has investigated under the KSA’s updated enforcement policy, all but 16 so far have implemented changes meant to keep players in Holland off their websites, effectively eliminating 142 gambling hubs from the local market.

After the regulator announced new enforcement measures last fall, many of the larger online operators voluntarily began introducing measures to reduce or eliminate accessibility to Dutch players. Others, large and small needed some nudging and now several of the 16 included in the latest roundup disappeared from players’ view in the Netherlands after the government announced an order to penalize violators. All of the sites will receive follow-up reviews and sanction actions are possible.

Earlier, the regulator had announced a cooling-off period on issuing new licenses and saw a surge of applications in the final days of March leaving the KSA to process about 30 applications for new licenses.

Jansen commented: “This was exactly the intention of the new law: the legal offer had to push the illegal offer away. With legal providers, the player is assured of a fair game and attention to preventing gambling addiction.”

Promotion Abuse and Autoplay Feature

Jansen expressed disappointment with market operators over the seeming inability of some operators to follow all of the rules, especially in regard to advertising controls. He stated that he is disappointed “in the fact that the gaming sector has not been able to muster the control that has been requested.”

In a related but separate matter, the regulator announced that it had been contacted by a player complaining about an operator who was offering autoplay on slot games. The KSA considers the feature which allows players to set a stake and number of games to play without interacting on every bet decision to be exploitive and otherwise problematic in regard to effective player protection. Games must present players with a ‘conscious choice’ for every bet.

The operator, who wasn’t identified by name in public comments, disabled or removed the feature from at least three games that had been identified after contact from the KSA.

The regulator said it would be checking other operator websites to make sure the banned feature isn’t available elsewhere in Holland and noted that the penalty for offering autoplay could be as high as €300,000

KSA said: “From the point of view of consumer protection and the risk of the development of gambling addiction, forms of automatic play on online gambling machines are prohibited. In this form of play, the player no longer consciously chooses the next game and loses control.

Source: KSA hails success of unlicensed gambling enforcement policy, iGaming Business, April 12, 2022