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The Netherlands Gaming Authority (KSA) has struck Entain-owned BetCity with a €400,000 fine for targeting young adults with gambling advertising.

Marketing online gambling to young adults is prohibited by Dutch gambling regulations because individuals aged 18 to 24 are considered a vulnerable group.

“The brains of young people are still developing,” wrote the KSA. “As a result, they are extra susceptible to a gambling addiction.”

The KSA opened an investigation into BetCity following a broadcast of the Dutch TV show Kassa, an investigative consumer news programme that first shed light on the issue.

The investigation concluded that BetCity sent gambling advertising messages to young people between October 2021 and March 2022.

KSA: “The brains of young people are still developing. As a result, they are extra susceptible to a gambling addiction.”

The breaches were therefore identified before BetCity parent company Betent was acquired by Entain last June for an initial €300m.

This is the fourth fine issued in just six months following the investigation. Previous operators on the wrong end of enforcement action include bet365, Toto and JOI Gaming.

KSA chairman René Jansen said: “The law prohibits games of chance providers from targeting young adults with advertising.

“The KSA is closely monitoring this and with these four sanctions it once again underlines how important it is that providers of games of chance respect the rules that are intended to protect vulnerable target groups,” he added.

The Netherlands has this week confirmed a wider clampdown on gambling marketing, with an outright ban on TV, radio and public space advertising set to kick in on 1 July 2023.