Bingoal Argues that Sanction Violates Principle of Legal Certainty Due to Ambiguous Regulation Wording.
Bingoal Receives €400,000 ($428,000) Fine from Dutch Gaming Regulator for Targeting Young Adults with Advertising Messages.
Targeting the Young Adult Demographic
In the latest enforcement action, the Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) has issued a significant financial penalty to Bingoal. This marks the fifth fine imposed by the regulatory body on gambling operators involved in the same investigation, all of whom were found to be in violation of regulations that forbid the targeting of young people with games of chance advertising.
Following their investigation, the KSA determined that Bingoal had contravened the provisions outlined in the Betting and Gaming Act, specifically Article 2, Paragraph 4, preamble, and (a) of the Decree on Recruitment, Advertising, and Addiction Prevention of Games of Chance. The violation took place between October 12, 2021, and March 15, 2022, during which time Bingoal sent advertising messages to users aged between 18 and 24.
Young adults aged 18 to 24 are considered a vulnerable demographic due to their heightened susceptibility to developing gambling addictions. To safeguard them from such risks, the law prohibits operators from directly targeting this age group with advertising messages.
Bingoal Contests Allegations, Arguing Advertising Messages Not Specifically Targeted at Young Adults
Bingoal, in its defense, acknowledged sending the advertising messages during the mentioned period but refuted the claim that they were specifically aimed at young adults. The company contended that these were general advertising messages intended for all players. According to Bingoal, the fact that some young adults happened to receive these messages does not constitute a violation of Article 2, Paragraph 4, (a) of the advertising and addiction prevention decree.
In its argument, Bingoal focused on the interpretation of the phrase “aiming at” in the legal standard. It contended that this could be understood in various ways, including that it refers to the content of the advertisement rather than its intended audience. By invoking the principle of legal certainty (lex certa), the company claimed that this interpretation conflicts with the standard.
Bingoal concluded that its advertisements were not targeted specifically at young adults and maintained that it did not violate Article 4a, Paragraph 2 of the Betting and Gaming Act and Article 2, Paragraph 4, preamble, and (a) of the advertising and addiction prevention decree.
Bingoal Receives Second Financial Sanction, Merkur Casino Almere Also Penalized by Dutch Regulator
Bingoal has incurred its second financial penalty as a gambling operator, marking the start of 2022 with a €350,000 ($375,000) fine imposed by the Dutch gaming regulator in February. The sanction was a result of the operator’s violation of the regulation concerning the national gambling self-exclusion register, Cruks.
Similarly, Merkur Casino Almere has also faced consequences from the Dutch gambling regulator. The casino was recently fined €45,000 for multiple instances of allowing a customer registered on Cruks to enter the premises and engage in gambling activities.