KSA Partners With Facebook to Tackle Illegal Lotteries

  • Illegal “dipping” lotteries operate through the social media site, violating Dutch law
  • In the Netherlands, lotteries need a license and must give at least 40% of their proceeds to charity
  • To date, 13 investigations have started, with a number of offending groups already removed
  • The legal online gambling sector is set to launch in the Netherlands in July 2021
Black and white lottery balls
KSA, the Netherlands’ gambling regulator, is working with Facebook to battle illegal dipping lotteries on the social media platform. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

A collaborative effort

The Dutch gambling regulator Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) is collaborating with Facebook to battle the illegal organization of online lotteries. KSA has received numerous reports about these illegal “dipping” lotteries, which mainly take place on the social media site. 

For the moment, those that organize the lotteries will receive communication regarding their violations. A request containing details about the lottery will also be sent to Facebook, asking the company to remove the group.

In dipping lotteries, players enter into prize draws for cash and other rewards, with entry fees transferred online to operators based both in the Netherlands and overseas.

In the Netherlands, games of chance, including lotteries, can only run if the the government has issued the operator a license. There is also no way for an operator to receive a license if their objective is purely commercial. At least 40% of the lottery’s proceeds must go to charity. 

Reporting process

Over the past few months, 13 investigations have started as a result of KSA referring reports of illegal lotteries to Facebook. Some of the investigations have already led to Facebook removing the offending groups.  

Communication is a key part of the relationship; KSA reports any incidences of illegal lotteries on the social media platform, as they violate Dutch law. Facebook then removes the group, per its own rules and guidelines. 

the most effective and fastest method of dealing with Gambling Act violations

KSA sees this collaboration as being the most effective and fastest method of dealing with Gambling Act violations, as Facebook does not want to facilitate illegal activities. Facebook also works with other countries’ regulators, such as the UK Gambling Commission, on gambling advertising guidance.

A legal framework

For many years, the KSA has been cracking down on errant gambling operators that target Dutch residents, issuing numerous hefty fines. 

There is also an ongoing issue about loot boxes with Electronic Arts (EA). The video game publisher is facing potential fines of up to €10m ($11.8m) for not altering aspects of its FIFA soccer game. EA believes that its FIFA Ultimate Team packs are not a form of gambling, but the Dutch authorities disagree.

The regulated online gambling market in the Netherlands is launching in July 2021. There have been numerous delays, with the original launch date of July 2020 pushed back to January 2021 and again to July 2021. The KSA recently published details of the license application process, including the standards that will be in place when assessing the merits of potential licensees.