Netherlands: rise in illegal poker

Police have shut down multiple tournaments during lockdown.
Police have shut down multiple tournaments during lockdown.

The Dutch gambling authority has reported a rise in the number of illegal poker tournaments in the Netherlands during the coronavirus lockdown.

Netherlands.- The Dutch gambling authority, Kansspelautoriteit (Ksa), has reported a rise in illegal poker tournaments in the country during the Coronavirus lockdown.

The agency said that in the past week alone police had shut down illegal poker tournaments in Hoofddorp, Hoorn, Capelle aan den IJssel, Zaandam, Tilburg and Rotterdam.

It said all participants had received fines for violating Coronavirus measures. In addition, in some instances hosts of the events would be prosecuted or their venues shut down, it said.

In April, local media in the Netherlands reported that police had dished out €23,000 in fines at a single event that had attracted 53 players from all over the country.

Marc Merx, Head of Enforcement at the Ksa, said there were two possible explanations for the apparent rise in illegal poker tournaments.

He said it was possible that enforcers were uncovering more events because gatherings of groups of people were more apparent during the lockdown and police were attending to break up groups and question people.

He said the agency also suspected that more illegal tournaments were being held because Holland Casino was closed because of the Coronavirus lockdown. Holland Casino is the only venue legally allowed to host commercial poker for money in the Netherlands.

Merx said the Ksa was supporting police and had helped detect several of the illegal tournaments.

Ksa recently announced that it was taking a more lenient line on unlicensed bingo events held during lockdown.

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