In the Netherlands, “Corona-free” Offerings Still Have a Cost

Published March 24, 2020 by Lee R

In the Netherlands, “Corona-free” Offerings Still Have a Cost

Come licencing time, KSA will not forget those who make light of the current situation.

The Netherlands' gambling regulator took exception last week to positioning gambling services with Corona.

The Violation

In a notice issued last Tuesday, the Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) gambling regulatory agency called to task illegal online gambling providers and advertisers taking competitive advantage from their shuttered legal counterparts by extending “Corona-free offerings.”

The Penalty

While stopping short of identifying the violators, KSA chief Rene Jansen assured the penalty would be realised later, as those operators extending these “completely objectionable” offers “will weigh heavily in a possible application” for Dutch online gambling licenses beginning January 1, 2021.

Regulation Outlook

The KSA estimates that Dutch-approved online operators will not launch licensed service until at least mid-2021; while in the short term concern over the Covid-19 pandemic has closed all 14 Holland Casino branches until at least April 6.

Short-term Window

This opens the door for unlicensed foreign operators to rise from the woodwork to once again serve Dutch punters who will have no other options legal or illegal, with the spurious and soon to be infamous “Corona-free play” angle.

Rising Numbers

While already illegal, the ad would appear to be in poor taste as well, with the number of infections in Netherlands jumping nearly 300 to 1705 the day before the announcement. At the time of writing, gatherings of over 100 individuals had been banned, with accompanying orders for cafés, bars and any other venue at which over 100 individuals might usually congregate.

Youthful Pall

The KSA might be particularly ill at ease because of another disturbing trend within their borders: the fact that half of those in intensive from the virus were actually under the age of 50, representing a discomfittingly high percentage of younger population compared to other nations' figures.

Outlook

Regardless of the local conditions, the advertising of currently available gaming services as “corona-free” does ultimately come off as poor taste no matter where they are offered, whether the operators are licensed or not.

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