The Netherlands Gambling Authority (KSA) has fined Tipico, the Germany-focused sports betting operator, for operating in the Netherlands without a gambling licence.
Tipico’s websites were visible from Dutch IP addresses, they permitted payment processing in the Dutch language and ages were not visibly verified in the registration process, the KSA said today.
Its fine was increased from minimum levels because the website offered inappropriate bonuses, a large number of games and bets and live betting, which the regulator said carries a higher level of risk than pre-game bets.
Any unlicensed gambling operations are illegal in the Netherlands, but the regulator has said it prioritises enforcement against sites which use the Dutch language, feature typically Dutch symbols such as cheese or windmills, have Dutch-oriented payment processing or which do not have adequate age gating.
Earlier this week, licensing and enforcement issues in the Netherlands became even more complicated.
International operators had thought they were relatively safe by operating passively in the Netherlands, with no marketing or advertising solicitations, but minister Sander Dekker instructed the KSA to launch an “intensification” of enforcement from October 1 that will mean companies are being asked to refund player deposits and pull out of the market until they get a licence.
Fines then rise drastically from November 1.
Tipico joins a string of other international operators, including William Hill, Kindred, Betsson, LeoVegas and Casumo, which have been fined in recent years as the Dutch online gambling market prepares to launch from October.
Malta-licensed Tipico is owned by CVC Capital Partners and has US licences in New Jersey and Colorado.
Tipico argued that its website was in German and not focused on the Netherlands and disputed claims that it does not adequately verify ages of players.
But the KSA said its staff members periodically were able to register to gamble during 2020, making payments entirely in Dutch and “Netherlands”, with a Dutch flag and area code on telephone numbers, was offered as an option during the registration process.
“In the opinion of the gaming authority, this is sufficient evidence that the website was also aimed at the Netherlands,” the regulator wrote.
The regulator also argued that Tipico took gambling risks too lightly.
“For example, Tipico has stipulated in its general terms and conditions that it is not obliged to monitor the gambling behaviour of its customers,” the regulator said.
“In the opinion of the gaming authority, a provider of a high-risk service such as this should carefully monitor the activities of all its customers. If it doesn't, it won't be able to intervene if the player shows risky behaviour. This is all the more important since Tipico does not have a permit and is therefore not supervised by the authorities.”