This week, it was announced that two Dutch individuals received a € 80,000 fine from the Dutch Games of Chance Authority for organizing a lottery with a residence in South-Africa as first price. In this manner, the organizers tried to sell their residence.
The lottery was offered through different (.nl) websites whereby interested persons could participate by buying one or more of the max. 9999 lottery tickets.
The Dutch Games of Chance Authority established that the lottery was targeted at the Dutch public, since (i) a .nl-extension was involved; (ii) the lottery was promoted through Dutch (social) media; and (iii) digital mailings were sent out in Dutch language. This was all done without having obtained a license for organizing a lottery.
Pursuant to the Betting and Gaming Act, it is in principle strictly prohibited to organize lotteries in the Netherlands – except when given permission or a government license. Only a limited number of lottery operators have been granted a permanent license. Therefore, offering a lottery to the Dutch public without a license granted by the Dutch Games of Chance Authority is illegal, involving the risk that the Dutch Games of Chance Authority imposes (administrative) fines.
The Dutch Games of Chance Authority focuses especially lotteries targeted at the Dutch public by way of (for example):
- a website in Dutch language; or
- a .nl-extension; or
- media promotions in Dutch language.
In the present case, it was irrelevant that the lottery was structured through Austria: the only thing that matters is whether the activities are targeted at the Dutch market. If this is the case, the Dutch Games of Chance Authority – and not the Austrian regulator – is entitled to enforce the law, i.e. the Betting and Gaming Act.