The Dutch gaming authority, the Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), recently fined the National Postcode Lottery and Friends Lottery for selling online games that were not permitted under their individual lottery licenses. As a result, the KSA has issued an order requiring both organizations to pay recurring penalties.
Lottery Permit Violation
The KSA’s action is a direct result of the National Postcode Lottery and Friends Lottery providing online games that are not permitted under their lottery licenses. Failure to immediately halt these acts will result in a weekly charge of €250,000 ($268,079), with a maximum fine of €1 million ($1.07 million).
Unauthorized National Postcode Lottery Games
On its website, the National Postcode Lottery has a Games Lottery category that includes popular games such as Deal or No Deal, Suitcase Hunt, ONE Against 50, and Move That Truck. However, a KSA inquiry determined that these online activities are classified as casino games and thus fall beyond the scope of the organization’s lottery license.
Unapproved Friends Lottery Games
Similarly, the Friends Lottery has a Games Lottery area with games such as FriendsLottery Millionaires, Club-man, and Bingo Crush. These games have also been identified as online gambling titles that are not protected by the operator’s lottery license.
Legal Requirements and Clear Distinction
Kansspelautoriteit emphasizes the legal and regulatory distinction between lotteries and riskier games of chance, particularly online games of chance. Such games require separate licenses, and offering games linked to lotteries online is strictly illegal. The KSA is dedicated to keeping lotteries and online games of chance separate.
Intention to Appeal and Suspension
In reaction to the KSA’s fines, the National Postcode Lottery and Friends Lottery have both stated their intention to appeal the verdict. However, as a precaution, both lottery operators have agreed to stop offering the disputed games on June 8.
Lotteries as a form of entertainment and charity fundraising
The National Postcode Lottery and Friends Lottery believe that the free lottery games, which the KSA considers to be outside the scope of their licenses, are exclusively for amusement purposes. They argue that these games adhere to the safe character of non-profit lotteries, which seek to raise revenue for charitable organizations. Both lotteries emphasize that these games have been a part of their offers for over 30 years and that they have always met the requirements of their lottery licenses.
KSA’s Ongoing Enforcement Activities
The KSA has been awarding penalties and sanctions to various operators for noncompliance this year. Separately, according to the Dutch finance minister’s report, the government is looking at new options for Nederlandse Loterij, including the eventual privatization of the state-owned firm.
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