The Netherlands Gambling Authority (KSA) has fined operator Bingoal €400,000 for targeting advertising to people aged 18-24, which is banned in the country.
An investigation into Brussels-based Bingoal was launched by the KSA after a TV programme called Kassa revealed that, between October 2021 and March 2022, Bingoal had sent advertising messages to young people.
“That is not allowed, because young adults are a vulnerable target group. The brains of young people are still developing. As a result, they are extra susceptible to a gambling addiction,” the KSA said on Monday (June 5).
In the sanction decision, the KSA explains that media and various other reports it received following the reregulation of the online market in October 2021 revealed that many licensees were breaking the new advertising rules.
As a result, all licensees active in the Netherlands from October 2021 to April 1, 2021 were investigated for advertising compliance breaches.
This is the fifth fine as part of those investigations.
A report into Bingoal found that young adult players were “frequently sent promotional messages promoting Bingoal's offerings, including bonuses”.
Bingoal did not deny sending the messages, but argued that they were not “targeted” and that the regulator was partly responsible as it had failed to clarify the term.
The operator added that imposing a fine of between €100,000 and €500,000 would give an advantage to unlicensed operators, arguing that any penalty should be lower than those imposed on unlicensed operators.
In May, the KSA imposed a cease and desist order and a maximum fine of €717,000 on Malta-based GoldWin LTD for offering online gambling in the country without a licence.
Countering Bingoal's argument, the KSA decision states the definition of targeted “was and is clear” and that the breaches constituted a “serious violation”.
Bingoal “should have excluded the young adults registered with it from its recruitment and advertising activities by removing them from the mailing list”, according to the decision.
On February 8, 2023, KSA handed Bingoal a separate €350,000 fine for allowing people to play for days before checking the central register of excluded players (Cruks).