Apple Inc recently announced that it had withdrawn a large number of casino and gambling related apps from its store in the Netherlands as Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), the country’s regulatory body had sent in a request asking the company to do so. Google had earlier decided not to make any gambling apps available in the Netherlands via its Google Play store and hence online gambling players in the Netherlands relied heavily on Apple gambling apps.
Apple’s suspension on gambling apps means that a number of popular gaming companies such as Unibet and bwin.party will no longer have access to the Dutch market. Online gambling is not legalized in the Netherlands but that hasn’t stopped gambling providers from offering their services. The KSA has stepped up efforts earlier this year to crackdown on the underground gambling industry and the ban on gambling apps will help the regulator battle illegal gambling providers.
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KSA believes now that Apple has suspended all gambling apps in the country, it will prevent atleast 10,000 illegal gambling downloads from happening. The crackdown on the illegal gambling industry started back in 2013 and initially targeted online gambling websites. Now that gambling providers are using mobile apps to promote their services, the KSA had to widen its net. It is estimated that there are around 1.5 million online gamblers in the Netherlands and all of them play on illegal gambling websites.
Back in May 2016, KDA went after sports betting apps on the Apple store and closed down 49 apps just before the European Football Championship could take place. This prevented illegal gambling operators in the country from profiting during the football season and stopped thousands of illegal downloads from happening.
The KSA released a statement which said “Online gambling is not regulated in the Netherlands. There is no coherent monitoring of the supply, and therefore no control over the fairness of a game of chance.” Companies who are found to have breached Dutch gaming laws can be hit with a serious fine ranging from ten percent of their annual profit or €810,000.
Dutch legislators have been holding discussions for the possible legalization of the online gambling industry but not a lot of progress has been made so far. Martijn van de Koolwijk, a representative for the KSA stated that gambling is moving from computers to tablets but as no as there is no regulation in the Netherlands, it will continue to remain illegal.