Dutch Regulator Hands Out €26m In Fines As Chairman Says It 'Means Business'

March 3, 2023
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The Netherlands Gambling Authority has handed out a record-breaking €26m in fines to five operators for illegally offering online games of chance.

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The Netherlands Gambling Authority (KSA) has handed out a record-breaking €26m in fines to five operators for illegally offering online games of chance.

The fines were imposed on: Videoslots Limited (€9.87m); N1 Interactive Limited (€12.64m); Betpoint Group Limited (€1.78m); Probe Investments Limited (€1.1m); and Fairload Limited (€900,000), according to the KSA's announcement on March 3.

René Jansen, chairman of the KSA, said the fines show the regulator “means business”.

“Player safety is paramount. A fine is to hit where it hurts, so in the wallet. With such amounts, we think we can impose an appropriate sanction, given the illegal earnings,” Jansen said.

The fines were imposed in December 2022 to the operators for allowing players in the Netherlands to gamble without a licence.

The KSA said enforcing this ban is one of its priorities.

To determine the difference in the amount of the fine, the KSA took into account the estimated turnover the company made in the Netherlands.

“In the case of N1 Interactive, it concerned a repeated violation for which a fine had already been imposed,” the KSA said.

The Malta-based operator of brands such as Betchain was fined €500,000 for its offshore operations in the Netherlands in July 2021.

Additionally, “in the case of Videoslots, the word mark of the KSA was incorrectly displayed on the website, while this may only be used by licensed providers. It is precisely this word mark that is important for players to use to determine whether they are dealing with a legal range of games.”

Other factors that the KSA took into account when issuing the size of the fines were the lack of adequate age verification, wrongly suggesting that products are offered with a European licence and allowing the use of anonymous payment methods.

After the fines were announced anonymously at the end of December, operators requested that the court stop the publication of the decisions. The judge rejected the requests this week, allowing the KSA to publish the individual sanction decisions.

Videoslots claimed prior to the publication of the decision that the KSA improperly deployed a “mystery shopper” in a deceptive fashion in an attempt to establish that Videoslots was offering online gambling to Dutch residents without a licence.

Deputy chief executive Ulle Skottling called the KSA’s fine “absurd” because “it is simply not possible to protect fully against unauthorised access, and the KSA has no guidelines on what measures are sufficient”.

“Videoslots does not target but restricts the Netherlands, so the Dutch Gaming Act does not apply to its services,” he said. “No Dutch players were able to access our site during the disputed period and there was no violation as a result.”

“We dispute the KSA’s actions and conclusions, which we believe are unlawful,” he said. “We are confident of a positive outcome in this case.”

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