Dutch regulator wins gambling advertising case

| By Robert Fletcher
Dutch gambling regulator the Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) has claimed victory in the Council of State, the highest administrative court in the Netherlands, in a case concerning text-based promotions for online games of chance.

The KSA stated using promotional articles to publicise online games, which are currently not legal in the country, was a form of advertising and should not be permitted.

The Council of State agreed, saying this promotional text falls under the same category of advertising and is not permitted under current laws.

The latest decision supports a ruling made by the District Court of The Hague in February of last year.

The original case related to penalty payments that the KSA had issued to Content Publishing Limited, a subsidiary of Betsson, in 2017. The KSA said the operator had published promotional articles for online gambling on various websites.

At the time, the KSA said visitors to the Content Publishing websites were able to click through to sites where illegal games of chance were available to be played.

The regulator said it had used a penalty payment to Content Publishing, having previously warned the operator about its conduct.

Content Publishing argued the KSA’s definition of promotion in the Gambling Act was too broad and that its articles constituted editorial information, rather than advertisements.

However, the Court disagreed, saying “the primary objective (…) was to forward potential players to providers of online casino games” and that the KSA rightly regarded this as promoting illegal gambling.

In a statement issued after the latest hearing, the KSA said the social interest of informing the consumer about commercial practices that violate the current Gambling Act “outweigh the importance of Content Publishing to prevent disclosure”.

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