KSA shuts down illegal bingo Facebook group

The Dutch gambling regulator de Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) has taken action against an unlicensed bingo service that was run on a Facebook group.

This comes after the regulator announced it would be monitoring 25 gambling sites to ensure unlicensed gambling operators have blocked Dutch customers.

KSA cracks down on illegal bingo service

On Friday, the Dutch gambling regulator announced it had taken action against an illegal bingo network operating via a Facebook group called Dordtse Queens.

According to the regulator, Dordtse Queens would organize illegal bingo events. The group had 8 administrators and advertised the bingo games via their own Facebook pages. The personal pages also offered the opportunity to participate in illegal bingos. 

In its announcement, the KSA said: “In this way a spider’s web of illegal bingos had arisen, with a total of almost 10,000 members.”

The regulator also found that minors were able to participate in the illegal bingo games.

The KSA explained: “For some time now, the Ksa has been reporting to Facebook if the platform is used for illegal practices. Offering a game of chance without a license is prohibited in the Netherlands.”

As a result of this, the KSA reported the issue to Facebook which led to the social media giant removing six pages that were affiliated with the group.

Another unlicensed bingo product on Facebook

The regulator’s action against Dordtse Queens marks the latest instance where the regulator has taken action against unlicensed bingo offerings on Facebook.

Back in September, Luxury Bingo and BSB Shop were both ordered by the KSA to take their bingo products offline. The regulator issued cease and desist orders to two operators after they were found to be operating illegally via Facebook.

BSB Shop was also found to be operating on the Discord group chat platform. BSB initially offered commercial online lottery products via Facebook but moved to Discord after being contacted by the KSA.

The two brands were threatened with fines if they failed to comply with the regulator’s orders.

The regulator said that BSB Shop would be issued a penalty of €7,000 each time it breaches regulation, up to a maximum amount of €35,000. Meanwhile, Luxury Bingo faces a penalty of €3,000 each time it breaches regulations, up to a maximum of €30,000.

Online gambling in the Netherlands

The Dutch online gambling market was meant to go live on 1 October 2021 but a technical fault with the country’s self-exclusion portal delayed the launch until 4 October 2021. Since then 10 operators have been awarded licenses to offer online gambling in the country.

Licensees include Bet365, UK-based bingo operator Tombola and Malta- and Estonia-licensed Play North Ltd as well as Dutch land-based operator Holland Casino NV.

Licenses have also been awarded to state lottery Nederlandse Loterij’s TOTO Online betting brand, Janshen Hahnraths Group with FPO Nederland, Italy-based Betent, Belgian brand Bingoal, NSUS Malta, which runs the GGPoker.eu brand and sports media and betting firm LiveScore Malta.

The KSA had initially expected to receive up to 40 license applications and predicted it would award 35. However, in April the KSA revealed it had only received 28 applications.