Dutch Regulator Demands Unlicensed Maltese Operator Exits Market

May 30, 2023
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The Netherlands Gambling Authority has imposed a cease and desist order and a maximum fine of €717,000 on Malta-based GoldWin LTD for offering online gambling in the country without a licence.

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The Netherlands Gambling Authority (KSA) has imposed a cease and desist order and a maximum fine of €717,000 on Malta-based GoldWin LTD for offering online gambling in the country without a licence.

GoldWin, which operates the westcasino.com website, was told to prevent any of its online gambling services from being accessible in the Netherlands within two weeks of the decision being issued, which is dated April 20, 2023.

If GoldWin fails to comply with the order then it has to pay a penalty fee of €239,000 per week up to a maximum of €717,000, according to the sanction decision published on May 25.

In a letter sent by the KSA on January 23, the operator was warned of the regulator’s intentions to impose an order subject to periodic penalty payments; however, it did not take the two-week opportunity given to it to respond to the message, the regulator said.

An appeal can be lodged against this decision.

During the KSA’s investigation, it found that between March 1, 2022 and February 1, 2023 a website operated by GoldWin had 907,246 visits from the Netherlands.

The investigation into GoldWin began on December 22, 2022, when a member of the KSA used a Dutch IP to register as a new player on one of its websites.

When making a deposit on the site, the KSA staff member was redirected so they could make a payment using a credit card linked to a Dutch bank. The investigator was then able to play an online slot game, the regulator said.

News of the cease and desist order comes just days after Malta’s controversial bill that would all but block the transfer of court judgments against gambling companies from other EU states passed its second reading.

The bill appears to have support from both the ruling party and the political opposition, making it likely to be passed.

However, some lawyers have expressed concerns that the draft breaches EU rules that call for judgments from one member country to be enforceable in another in most cases.

The Ministry for the Economy, European Funds and Lands, which is responsible for the bill, previously told VIXIO: “In the absence of harmonisation of regulation of this service, the government has given regulated operators the necessary assurance against unfounded challenges, as a matter of public order for the country."

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