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JOI Gaming, operator of the jacks.nl online casino and sports betting brand, has been fined €400,000 by the Netherlands Gaming Authority (KSA).

The operator was found to have violated a ban on advertising aimed at young adults after sending promotional messages to its entire customer base without excluding users under the age of 24.

Dutch regulations prohibit operators from sending promotional messages to those aged between 18 and 24, even if they have already registered player accounts.

The violations took place between December 2021 and March 2022, during which time JOI sent direct marketing messages via email to its entire customer base.

“The law explicitly includes the protection of young adults, because they run a greater risk of gambling addiction,” said the KSA in a statement. 

The regulator’s chairman, René Jansen, added: “As far as we are concerned, the legislation is crystal clear: no recruitment activities aimed at young adults. 

KSA: “The law explicitly includes the protection of young adults, because they run a greater risk of gambling addiction.”

“In December 2021, the Gaming Authority emphasised even more to licensed providers how the provisions on advertising and recruitment activities are intended. The Gaming Authority considers it serious and culpable that this provider nevertheless focused on young adults.”

While Malta-based JOI Gaming said it did not share the regulator’s opinion that it had specifically targeted young adults in its promotional messaging, the operator has not lodged an appeal in response to the ruling.

The operator argued, however, that a lack of clarity in the legislation – principally that advertising efforts may not “target” young people as opposed to a prohibition on advertising “addressed to” young people – led to the violation.

It added that a total ban on advertising for young people would leave them more vulnerable to using unlicensed offerings, as advertising is a key method for encouraging players to use regulated operators.

The KSA responded that the rules are indeed clear and that the violation was evident from its investigation.

It argued that customers under the age of 24 should be treated in much the same way as those who have self-excluded from gambling via the Cruks register, insofar as they should never receive any direct promotional messages from operators.

JOI has ceased sending such messages to customers under the age of 24 as of March 2022.

Last week (19 January) the KSA issued Malta-based operator Shark77 with a €900,000 fine over unlicensed operations in the country.

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