In the Netherlands and the Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) gambling regulator has reportedly announced that unlicensed iGaming operators found guilty of using the current coronavirus pandemic to promote their services are due to face an additional fine of at least €50,000 ($53,900).
According to a Friday report from iGamingBusiness.com, the warning comes after the country decided to shutter every one of its 14 land-based casinos until early April so as to help stop the spread of a highly-contagious coronavirus strain that has so far killed some 213 locals. The KSA purportedly revealed that it has since observed multiple iGaming operators attempting to exploit this situation by running ‘corona-free gambling’ offers even though the nation’s online casino and sportsbetting market is not due to officially open until July of next year.
The KSA last week advised iGaming operators that they face having any illegal operation infractions ‘weigh heavily in a possible application for an online gambling license.’ iGamingBusiness.com reported that the revised penalty means that any such firms or their agents are now looking at a minimum punishment worth €250,000 ($269,430) should they be found guilty of promoting their unlicensed services using the coronavirus outbreak.
CalvinAyre.com used a Friday report of its own to detail that this warning seems to have worked with at least two operators in Flutter Entertainment and Kindred Group. The former firm, which was known as Paddy Power Betfair until undergoing a May rebranding, is responsible for the online sportsbetting domains at Betfair.com and PaddyPower.com while the latter runs the site at Unibet.eu and was hit with a KSA fine of €470,000 ($507,400) in August after one of its subordinates was found to have unlawfully accepted wagers from players based in the Netherlands.
Dublin-headquartered Flutter Entertainment reportedly responded to the KSA’s counsel by immediately sending out an e-mail advising affiliates that they face having their relationship immediate suspended should they be found to have mentioned coronavirus in any marketing materials. Maltese operator Kindred later echoed this threat while noting that the prohibition did not encompass references to events that had been cancelled, postponed or altered as a result of the pandemic.