Bingoal Fined by Dutch Authority for Directing Advertisements at Young Adults

Published June 10, 2023 by OCR Editor

Bingoal Fined by Dutch Authority for Directing Advertisements at Young Adults

In a striking move, KSA fines Bingoal Nederland €400,000 for deliberately directing promotional activities towards young adults, breaching Dutch gambling regulations.

In a targeted enforcement action, the Dutch gambling watchdog, de Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), has sanctioned Bingoal Nederland with a hefty €400,000 (£345,282/$427,678) fine for deliberately directing marketing content towards young adults. This action comes after an extensive investigation into allegations that some gambling operators have been sending advertisements to individuals between 18 and 24.

The investigation, which spanned from 1 October 2021 to 1 April 2022, was launched following numerous reports about potential breaches of gambling regulations. During the probe, the KSA found that Bingoal had distributed promotional emails and messages to many players within this specific age bracket, sparking controversy and raising questions about ethical business practices in the industry.

According to Article 2, Paragraph 4 of the Dutch Betting and Gaming Act (Bwrvk), licensed operators are strictly prohibited from directing their promotional activities towards young adults. This rule was allegedly breached by Bingoal, leading to the KSA's punitive action.

Bingoal, while accepting that they had sent the communications to the players under scrutiny, contested the allegations, stating that these were not specifically targeted at the young adult age group. Instead, the company argued that the emails were part of a broad advertising campaign aimed at all players.

In a surprising twist, Bingoal criticized the KSA for interpreting the law, claiming that there was ambiguity surrounding the term "targeting." The firm also posited that any penalty should consider its status as a licensed operator and that imposing a fine between €100,000 and €500,000 would give unlicensed operators, who are not subject to the same regulations, a significant advantage.

Despite these objections, the KSA imposed the fine, citing similar decisions made in concurrent investigations. In addition, the authority asserted that an administrative fine would serve as an appropriate response and take into account the severity of the violation.

The KSA further declared that Bingoal was in clear breach of the Bwrvk rules and noted that the company had failed to prevent certain emails from reaching young adults, despite possessing the technology to do so. The regulator also rebuffed Bingoal's argument about the law's ambiguity, stating that it is incumbent upon licensees to understand their obligations.

The €400,000 fine was broken down with €350,000 attributed to the actual breach and the additional €50,000 related to the duration of Bingoal's noncompliance with the law. The decision was made and ratified on 5 April, marking a significant moment in enforcing gambling regulations in the Netherlands.

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