In an update posted on September 23 on its official website, the Dutch gambling regulator Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) announced that it imposed a €400k fine to The Stars Group. KSA justified the financial penalty with the fact that the Stars Group served Dutch players via PokerStars.eu without holding the necessary permit. According to the current legislation, poker is a game of chance, and Holland Casino is the only legal provider of poker games. Online poker is deemed illegal.
The fine is a result of an investigation carried out in the second half of 2018. Back then, the KSA authorities revealed several violations. First of all, the Netherlands was not in the list of restricted jurisdictions. As a matter of fact, PokerStars.eu was freely accessible from the Netherlands. In addition, players were able to use iDeal for making deposits and to communicate with the customer support in Dutch language. According to KSA’s findings, as many as 33k players initiated almost 225k transactions via iDeal during the 6-week period of investigation. There were also two Netherlands-based problem gambling organisations listed on the PokerStars site, which was regarded as another indication that the Stars Group is illegally targeting Dutch players.
Following the KSA revelations, the Stars Group removed iDeal as well as the Dutch contact form from the PokerStars site.
The Stars Group is yet another company added to the constantly growing list of fined international operators. The Netherlands has recently liberalised its market and the first overseas operators will start accepting Dutch players from the beginning of 2021. However, the authorities put forward a “cool off period”, which means that previous offenders such as the Stars Group, Trannel International, GVC, Onisac Ltd. will not be allowed to apply for a license for another two years.