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Netherlands Gambling Authority orders licensed operators to cease offering cashback bonuses

TOTO Online hit with €400,000 fine over young adult advertising

The Netherlands Gambling Authority has hit Nederlandse Loterij-owned TOTO Online with a €400,000 fine for failing to exclude young adults from receiving promotional emails and push messages.

Dutch law stipulates that licensed operators cannot send any form of advertising to young adults between the ages of 18 and 23, even if they are registered with the operator.

TOTO, however, argued that the advertising regulations were insufficiently clear and only prohibited the specific targeting of young adults, which it did not do because it sent similar or identical messages to its entire customer base.

TOTO ceased its violation on February 1, 2022 – a week prior to the official launch of the Dutch regulator's investigation.

Nonetheless, the Gambling Authority ruled that TOTO's conduct was culpable, and that the violation was both structural and “serious,” thus warranting a significant fine.

TOTO said that it would not appeal the fine.

In related news, a recent freedom of information request revealed that the Netherlands Gambling Authority warned TOTO in October 2021 to limit the volume of its advertising or face the risk of an investigation. Current gambling advertising regulations, however, do not specify any legal limits on advertising volumes.

REMINDER | KSA Chair to speak at GIH Breakfast Briefing – December 14

Join us on Wednesday December 14 in The Hague for the 2022 Gaming in Holland Breakfast Briefing to hear more about the latest developments regarding the regulated Dutch gambling market.

The GiH Breakfast Briefing has been timed to follow a crucial Parliamentary letter – which is expected in the last week of November – in which the Minister responsible for gambling policy will outline proposals for implementing new advertising and player protection measures.

Netherlands Gambling Authority Chair, René Jansen has confirmed his attendance and will be among the event's speakers.

Other confirmed speakers include:

  • Niels Onkenhout, CEO, Nederlandse Loterij

  • Petra de Ruiter, CEO, Holland Casino

  • Fedor Meerts, Head of Department, Ministry of Justice and Security

  • Justin Franssen, Partner, Kalff Katz & Franssen

  • Eric Konings, Policy Advisor, NOGA

Register now: RSVP

While attendance is FREE, please note that places are limited. If the number of registrations exceeds the available space, sponsors and paid GiH Conference attendees will be given priority.

KSA Chair René Jansen: “No major increase in number of players, addicts due to online market regulation”

In an episode of radio show “The Big Five,” Netherlands Gambling Authority Chair, René Jansen said that the regulation of the Netherlands’ online gambling market had neither caused a major increase in the number of players, nor to an observable increase in the number problem gamblers.

Nonetheless, Jansen also said he encountered “harrowing excesses” involving young adults losing tens of thousands of euros in a short amount of time.

Significantly, Jansen also observed that restrictions imposed on licensed operators are likely to ultimately benefit illegal competitors, and that striking the right balance between additional player protection measures and maintaining market channelization is a complex problem without an easy solution.

Upcoming events

  • SLICKS, an advocacy group for (former) gamblers, in cooperation with the Municipality of Amsterdam and Cliëntenbelang Amsterdam, will host the first-ever Amsterdam Gambling & Awareness Congress (AG&AC) on December 15.

  • ICE London 2023 will take place February 7-9, 2023. Meet us there on February 8 for the Gaming in Germany Breakfast and Gaming in Holland Lunch. Save the dates.

  • The European Casino Awards, timed to coincide with ICE 2023, will be awarded on February 7, 2023, at The Grand Connaught Rooms, Covent Garden, London.

Netherlands Gambling Authority orders licensed operators to cease offering cashback bonuses

The Netherlands Gambling Authority has sent a letter to licensed operators stating that cashback bonuses are henceforth considered a form of advertising that promotes “excessive” gambling. All operators must cease offering such bonuses by December 5.

Cashback bonuses automatically return a percentage of their losses to players. According to the Dutch regulator, this encourages players to gamble more and take bigger risks – which permitted advertising may not do.

At least several Netherlands-licensed operators currently offer (or offered) cashback bonuses, including 711, Betnation, Jack's, and One Casino.

Recently, experts warned that cashback bonuses would be particularly risky to vulnerable players.

Other news

The Netherlands Gambling Authority announced that it would simplify the online licensing process. Specific details will be announced tomorrow, December 1.

Minister for Legal Protection, Franc Weerwind announced that the government sees no reason to launch an investigation into delayed payouts by licensed online gambling operators, as requested by MPs critical of Dutch gambling policy.

An ongoing attempt to make match-fixing a separate criminal offense in the Netherlands has suffered further delays.

The UK Gambling Commission has reported a 4% y-o-y decline in Q2 online gross gambling yield.

The UK Gambling Commission also finedAspire Global £237,600 for anti-money laundering failings.

Czech-based lottery operator Allwyn Entertainment announced that gross gaming revenue (GGR) had increased 11% to €958.6m in Q3.


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