BetEnt, which trades under the name BetCity.nl and has been owned and operated by Entain since January 2023, has been fined 400,000 euros, which is approximately $438.296, by the Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), the independent Dutch gambling regulator, for advertising towards young adults.
Following a report by the investigative consumer program Kassa that the online operator specifically targeted younger people, aged 18 to 24, with its ads between October 2021 and March 2022, the investigation by the KSA has officially begun.
Throughout the investigation, the regulator found that Betent was sending messages via its BetCity brand to its online user base, which also involves players aged 18 to 24. This is not allowed, because young adults are a sensitive target group, more prone to gambling addiction.
Young people – more prone to gambling addiction:
Furthermore, Betent did not provide any additional safeguards to warn consumers of the risks associated with gambling on its website or to stop advertisements in the form of emails and messages that youth could see.
According to the law, this is strictly prohibited in the Netherlands because the law considers the age range mentioned above to be a group at risk in terms of advertising.
In this regard, the KSA said: “The brains of young people are still developing. As a result, they are extra susceptible to a gambling addiction.”
René Jansen, Chairman of the KSA, added: “The law prohibits gambling providers from targeting young adults with advertising.
“The Gaming Authority closely monitors this and, with these four sanctions, once again underlines the importance of gambling providers respecting the rules intended to protect vulnerable target groups.”
The Netherlands will forbid untargeted ads:
The current fine comes on the heels of other penalties handed down by KSA following an investigation. In the past month, three gaming companies have been found guilty of violating the Dutch advertising regulations and fined as a result.
Moreover, the fine imposed on Betent is the fourth fine imposed as a result of this investigation.
Earlier this month, Franc Weerwind, the Dutch minister for legal protection, commented on gambling ads, saying: “The government will proceed with its ban on untargeted ads.”
He added that “unfortunately, gambling companies rarely can be trusted with self-regulating their marketing activity. Some of them, he noted, have been actively marketing their products even when they have been asked by the KSA to be mindful of their audiences.”
The Netherlands intends to officially ban non-targeted ads from July 1 this year.