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Kansspelautoriteit Clamps Down on Affiliates Pushing Illegal Gambling

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The Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), the Dutch Gambling Authority, has released the results of its extensive investigation conducted last year regarding affiliate websites promoting unlicensed gambling providers.

According to KSA, it initiated the investigations last year based on "several signals" it received regarding illegal advertising offers. The regulator stated that 14 out of the 33 gambling websites watched closely were found guilty of illegal advertising. It also discovered that consumers who had self-excluded from gambling through the Netherlands' CRUKS register were targeted.

According to the statement, four affiliate marketing websites were paid by the 14 unlicensed online gambling providers to advertise to different target groups, including individuals registered with CRUKS. The unlawful promotions urged consumers to play without using CRUKS, which the KSA deemed harmful for individuals looking to potentially exclude from unsafe and problematic gaming behaviors.

CRUKS, the Central Register of Exclusion of Chance Games, allows Dutch players to self-exclude from gambling for a period of time. Licensed gambling providers in the Netherlands are prohibited from offering their services to excluded players or targeting them in their gambling advertising.

KSA Bans Cashback Bonuses

Apart from the affiliate websites, the regulator also discovered that illegal operators utilized advertising space in six online newspapers to promote their services. This practice ceased after the KSA contacted the publications and instructed them to remove the ads. The KSA confirmed that it has begun a sanctions process against the illegal providers. It emphasized that dealing with illegal providers will be a top priority for the year.

This development follows the introduction of new cashback bonus rules by KSA after a number of operators were found to have been in breach of regulations.

According to Dutch regulations, operators are not allowed to offer cashback bonuses; however, the authority found a number of bonus offers that were linked to a player’s losses and compensated them proportionally.

The KSA believed that cashback bonuses encourage players to bet larger amounts and as such, changed the language in the regulations to refer to “bonus based on loss”. In other words, any bonus based upon losses is against the rules.

Last month, the Kansspelautoriteit took a significant step towards strengthening player protection by renewing its collaborative project with the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM). The renewed agreement will see the two organizations increase their mutual efforts to strengthen the Dutch market and protect consumers.

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