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Toto Online fined €400k for targeting young Dutch gamblers

Kansspelautoriteit

The Netherlands’ gambling regulator, Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), has fined betting operator Toto Online the sum of €400,000 for targeting young adults with its advertisements.

Dutch gaming laws prevent both online and land-based gambling operators from running campaigns that are aimed at persons between 18 and 23 years old. Toto Online was found to have sent out marketing material to its whole customer base, failing to exclude persons under 23.

The breaches commenced on October 1, 2021, when online gambling operations were launched in the nation, and continued until February 1, 2022. The operator also sent messages promoting bonus offers, which are completely barred in the Netherlands.

KSA chair René Jansen noted that the wellbeing of young adults ought to be prioritized, and gambling regulators should be diligent in upholding the laws that protect them.

“The law says that vulnerable groups, including young adults, must be given extra protection. The brains of young people are still developing. As a result, they are extra vulnerable to developing a gambling addiction,” Jansen said.

“Gaming providers must fully respect the rules intended to protect vulnerable groups. That didn’t happen here and therefore this is a fine.”

Jansen also warned operators to tone down their running of sports betting ads, as there’s been an increase since the FIFA World Cup commenced.

“Of course, I understand that a World Cup is an excellent opportunity to draw attention to the range of sports betting,” Jansen remarked.

“Nevertheless, I very much hope that the same mistake will not be made after October 1, 2021, when the legal market for online games of chance opened in the Netherlands.

“The bombardment of advertising caused so much annoyance that Minister Franc Weerwind was forced to intervene, partly at the urging of the House of Representatives.”

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