On March 3rd, the Dutch gambling regulator Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) revealed that it has imposed substantial fines to five operators for serving Dutch customers. The fines were given in December 2022, but the operators asked the court to stop the publications of the decisions. As the request was rejected, the KSA was enabled to release details about the reasons and the size of the financial penalties.
The five operators hit with fines were N1 Interactive, Probe Investments, BetPoint Group, Videoslots, and Fairload Limited. All of them provided online gambling services to local players without holding a legal permit to do so. The total amount of the fines is €26 million.
The largest fine was handed to N1 Interactive, which turned out to be a repeat offender. Back in July 2021, the company was penalized for serving Dutch customers via its betchan website. Now, the KSA levied a €12.6 million fine for the same violation – operating without a license.
Videoslots was handed a €9 million fine for incorrect placement of the KSA logo. The casino applied for a Dutch license, but placed the KSA logo before being awarded such. As a result, customers were misled that the casino holds a local license.
Betpoint Group, Probe Investments, and Fairload were fined €1.8 million, €1.1 million, and €900,000, respectively for operating without a license.
The size of the penalties was determined by the turnover of the operators and it was in line with the recently updated fines policy.
René Jansen, the KSA chairman, commented on the latest fines issued by the Dutch gambling authority. He said that players’ safety was of paramount priority and added that imposing heavy sanctions is a proven method for limiting the activity of illegal operators on the territory of the country.
As for the Videoslots penalty, the casino said that it would challenge the decision. The KSA logo was indeed placed on the website, but only for a short time. The mistake was made because of the license application process. The operator said that by the time the KSA logo was visible, the KSA investigators tried to open an account but they did not succeed. Then, they opened an account and made a deposit using a German IP address. Namely that is the reason for the sharp response of the Videoslots casino officials. It seems that the casino restricted the access of Dutch players, but the KSA investigators found a way to gain unauthorized access pretending to be German players. As a result, the KSA imposed a fine on Videoslots.
The Videoslots deputy chief executive Ulle Skottling defined the situation as “absurd” and added that the fine is unlawful as there were no clear guidelines as to what are the sufficient measures a casino would take to prevent unauthorized access. What’s more, he said the size of the penalty is based on “guesstimates” and the fine itself is baseless and lacking a sense of proportionality.
The Netherlands has opened its online gambling market in 2021 and declared its ambitions to provide players with a safe online gambling environment. Two years later, the KSA authorities seem to be keeping on their promise.
Earlier this year, the KSA fined Equinox Dynamic and Domiseda and Partners €900,000 for violating the country's Betting and Gaming Act and operating in the Netherlands without holding the necessary permits.
Equinox allowed players to use local payment methods for deposits and use the site in Dutch language. In an attempt to avoid the fine, Equinox blocked the access of Dutch players, but the KSA was adamant that the operator has already breached the rules and needs to take the consequences. Equinox hasn’t required the mandatory age verification check, not to mention that illegal gambling operators do not pay taxes, which enables them to offer better bonuses. They are also enabled to provide players with games and services that are prohibited to license holders.
The KSA top priority is to preserve players’ safety and make illegal operators either apply for a license or cease their operations on the territory of the country. In late 2022 the regulator made the sons-of-slots.com and BetWorld247 casinos make a tough decision. They either had to pay solid weekly financial penalties or exit the market. Both casinos chose the second option and the KSA dropped the €249,000 fines against them.
In recent news, the KSA teamed up with ZonMw- an organization for health research and care innovation. In a special statement the KSA announced that “the Gaming Authority has asked ZonMw to develop a research program on the prevention and treatment of gambling addiction”. The latter was launched on March 1. Experts in the field of the gambling harm and gambling addiction treatment can apply for funding until May 5. The requirements they need to meet are published on the ZonMw website.