Dutch gambling regulator de Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) has fined Bet365 operator Hillside New Media Malta €400,000 (£354,135/$428,723) for breaching rules on targeting adverts at young adults.
KSA was informed in January 2022 that an 18-year-old individual had received several emails from Bet365 about registering with the operator, with some of the emails including details about certain bonuses.
Dutch law prohibits licensed operators from promoting their services to players within the young adult age group, which covers consumers between 18 and 24.
KSA launched an investigation into the issue, covering the period between 26 October 2021 and 1 February 2022. This uncovered that a number of other players in this age range had also been contacted via email, and as such the regulator ruled there was a breach of article 2, paragraph 4 of the Dutch Gambling Act.
Bet365 responded to the charge saying KSA “misinterpreted” this section of the Act, which it said does include a blanket ban on promotional messages to the 18-24 age group, but only on adverts specifically targeted at young adults.
The operator also appealed against the decision, but KSA rejected these arguments and the subsequent appeal, ordering Bet355 to pay the fine.
KSA initially agreed on a €350,000 fine, due to the “seriousness” of the case, but as it also said as the breach took place over a number of months, the fine was increased to €400,000.
“Vulnerable groups, such as young adults, must be given extra protection,” KSA said. The brains of young people are still developing. As a result, they are extra vulnerable to developing gambling addiction.
“Gaming providers must fully respect the rules intended to protect vulnerable groups. That did not happen here and therefore we issued this fine.”