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Bettson strikes out in Dutch gambling marketing law challenge

One of the biggest stories in the pre-corona virus gambling world was the increasingly strict measures that European governments have been taking to limit the market capabilities of online gambling operators. In the UK, operators are seeing increased fines for infractions that would have once warranted a mere slap of the writs. In other European countries, marketing mainstays like deposit bonuses have become strictly verboten. And in the Netherlands, certain kinds of promotional content have been banned entirely.

The Dutch law banned a whole range of common marketing techniques including banner ads and text containing hyperlinks. A Betsson subsidiary, Content Publishing Ltd., was fined back in 2015 for violating this act with pieces of content that were found to be promoting games of chance in violation of the law by Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) the Dutch gambling authority.

Betsson challenged the fine and the law saying that the articles were merely “editorial information” and that the laws, as written were too vague to be enforced anyways. Early last year, a Dutch court upheld the KSA’s decision saying that the content in question was in clear violation of the law. They went on state that the content’s clear intention was to push players to open casino accounts.

Though Betsson continued the fight all the way to the Dutch Council of State, they found the folks there to be entirely unsympathetic. The Council offered nothing in the way of relief and even admonished the company saying that businesses need to be aware of the law. Betsson is to be commended for putting such a big effort into fighting laws that limit commerce, but will have to save victory for another day.