Dutch Gaming Authority tackles illegal offers via affiliates

21 February 2024
(PRESS RELEASE) -- Last year, the Dutch Gaming Authority conducted two investigations into the advertising of illegal games of chance via affiliate websites and websites of (online) newspapers. Through these websites, consumers were enticed to gamble with illegal providers of online games of chance – especially if consumers are registered in Cruks for a gambling stop. As a result of the investigations, the Ksa acted several times: 14 of the 33 investigated websites were in violation. Tackling illegal providers will continue to be a high priority for the Ksa in 2024.
Vulnerable player
Affiliate marketing is a form of online marketing in which websites place advertisements and they are paid by the advertiser for achieved results. Advertising illegal content is prohibited. Nevertheless, the Ksa received several signals about this. For example, it was advertised to play without Cruks. Cruks is the Central Register for the Exclusion of Games of Chance (gokstop.nl). Players who are registered in Cruks cannot play with legal providers. Active advertising to this target group is therefore very harmful.
One study by the Ksa focused on websites that enticed consumers to play with illegal providers through advertisements on their website. And who are specifically committed to vulnerable players. The Ksa investigated the most visited affiliate websites and found violations at four websites. The website owners seem to be hiding. The Ksa has therefore started a follow-up investigation.
Prohibition of untargeted advertising
The Ksa's other investigation focused on affiliate marketing for illegal online casinos following the enactment of the ban on untargeted advertising. It was expected that from July 2023, illegal providers would try to take advantage of the potentially reduced visibility of legal providers. The Ksa investigated several reports about illegal affiliates. Ten websites were in violation. A proposed sanction decision by the Ksa ensured that five of them immediately stopped the violation. The investigation into the five other websites is still ongoing.
These investigations also revealed that seven illegal casinos were advertised. The Ksa has started a sanction process for all seven illegal providers.
In addition, six online newspapers were approached by telephone and letter. The Ksa considers it undesirable that the public is referred via these channels to affiliates who advertise illegal games of chance. After the contact with the Ksa, these parties took immediate action and the advertisements were no longer seen on the websites of the newspapers.