Dutch gambling regulator “goes rogue” on elderly couple after radio interview on housing lottery

radioThe Dutch gambling regulator Kansspelautoriteit “cracked down” last week on an elderly couple (74 and 75 years of age) living in South Africa after c

Commenting on Dutch radio on the lottery of their South African house. They were punished with a EUR 80,000 fine, it was also decided by the regulator t

The crackdown comes at a point in time when the Dutch legislator is considering opening up the Dutch market to online gambling. This was originally planned as of January 1, 2015, but the draft legislation was heavily criticized by the Dutch state council as well as by Dutch entrepreneurs and it is expected that the legislation will suffer significant delay or will even collapse.hat as part of the punishment, details of their case were to be made public immediately. The couple has asked Dutch gaming lawyer Bas Jongmans of the niche law firm Gaming Legal (gaminglegal.com) to represent them. Since the regulator has announced to the couple that they would go public, the couple decided to come forward with their own statement.

The elderly couple made their house available for an Austrian lottery, organized by local niche attorney, Dr. Christa Kohl-Rupp, after one of them becoming terminally ill, making it necessary for the couple to leave their home in South Africa.

Initially, the regulator contacted Mrs. Kohl-Rupp on the matter, not long after the couple gave an interview on Dutch radio and the drawing of the Austrian lottery was published on the internet. However, the regulator refused to provide Kohl-Rupp with a requested translation of it’s questions in German language. Soon after, the focus of the regulator’s investigation turned to the Dutch speaking elderly couple, concluding that the elderly couple planned, organized and executed a Dutch lottery without an appropriate Dutch license.

This case received a substantial amount of attention by Dutch media since one of the key arguments of the regulator is that the couple broke the law by agreeing to a Dutch radio interview, making the lottery, in the opinion of “Kansspelautoriteit”, a local Dutch event.

Bas Jongmans stated on Dutch BNR Business radio, that the regulator (formed in april 2012), has from its start been desperately seeking for ways to prove its efficiency by setting examples to the public that any gambling activities connected to Dutch language will not be tolerated. In contrast, the Dutch state council warned the government that the proposed gambling legislation does not provide for any clear measures to efficiently control and regulate Dutch gambling affairs, unintentionally providing the regulator “Kansspelautoriteit” with a de facto “carte blanche”. The end result is, according to Jongmans, that the regulator can pretty much decide by themselves on how to act on certain events, making up a policy as they go along.

Jongmans went on to say that this results in a clear overkill and a regulator being dangerously biased when presented with easy opportunities.

Jongmans: “By agreeing to a media interview, this couple provided Kansspelautoriteit with an easy opportunity to blame them for an event that was clearly regulated, taxed and organized under Austrian law. It is painfully clear that when the regulator felt that the investigation of the Austrian lawyer would not provide the success rate they were aiming for, it was decided to select a much easier target. The Dutch regulator is not providing for a transparent market, lacking expertise and as a result their representation on an international scale leaves a lot to be desired. Hiring some folks with some technical expertise, preferably speaking also other languages than Dutch, would be helpful start. Housing lotteries, when organized properly, are perfectly legal. Also for Dutch citizens. People should not be intimidated by their own government to refrain from having a dialogue with the media. This is not George Orwell’s 1984.”

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