Gambling regulators in the Netherlands have significantly raised fines targeting and penalizing unlicensed gambling sites that offer gambling opportunities to Netherlands citizens. Dutch Gambling Authority Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) has tripled the fine for unauthorized gambling activity. The fine for offering online gambling to the Netherlands citizens without a license was originally €50k. The penalty is currently €150k, as of August 1, 2015. The fine for repeat or severe offenders can be raised to a maximum of €810k, which will be determined by the KSA and that is within the KSA jurisdiction and privilege to increase fines to the utmost degree for the proprietors who repeatedly break the law.
One other extenuating aspect for the KSA to deal with, is the amount of unlicensed gambling websites that exist and the types of gaming provided by specific proprietors, the highest prizes offered, the highest opening deposits and deposit bonus amounts. The KSA regards assorted measures when deciding to severely discipline unlicensed gambling sites, implementing actions against operators utilizing a “dot com” domain, making available a Dutch-language option, and promoting those sites with Dutch based radio, TV or printed media. The KSA’s past involving certain operators – whether it has previously given warnings or issued fines – also contributes to the determining of the severity of discipline. The KSA has identified and fined some holding companies associated with two unlicensed iGaming sites that knowingly singled out gamblers in the Netherlands, issuing fines that totalled €310,000. The KSA fined €310,000 ($393,387) the three companies associated with 7red.nl/com and royaalcasino.nl/com, two unlicensed online gambling sites. Bluemay Enterprises and Redcorp were each fined €130,000 ($164,969), but Bluemay Enterprises was also fined €50,000 ($63,450) for the secret connection with the unlicensed gaming websites.The sites 7red.nl and Royaal Casino were evaluated by the KSA as to illegally offering games of chance in the Netherlands, with quite a few players also filing complaints against the sites.
Fines have been issued to six unlicensed gambling websites in the past two years, with the fines being as high as €200k. However, only three of the six fines have been paid, as penalized operators are waiting to pay the fines pending the approval of the long anticipated, Remote Gaming Bill. With regulated online casinos like All Slots Casino and EUCasino which are popular among Dutch players, the KSA actions should be seen more as a preventative, than strictly disciplinary. The explanation given for the three fines that haven’t been paid is that the proprietors in question have claimed that there are plans to apply for Dutch online licenses as soon as the country’s politicians approve the long anticipated Remote Gaming Bill. The proprietors to most recently get the full effect KSA’s outrage were Total E Soft Limited and XKL Limited, which are UK based online casinos that were struck with €180k fines this week for running 14 Dutch fronted casino, poker and sports betting sites. The KSA claimed the sites were being portrayed as Dutch in origin with the writing being in the Dutch language and the Netherlands’ flag was generously used in the sites’ visual layouts. The regulatory authority discovered both gaming websites were advertising directly to Netherlands consumers using media outlets that included local television and radio stations.
Total E Soft’s representatives asserted that the gamblers residing in the Netherlands were blocked from using the sites and the Dutch language was utilized only as a means of attracting Dutch expatriates who were currently residing in other countries. The KSA rejected the rebuttals, claiming the sites’ operators knew the risks that were being taken, however, now there are grounds for a potential appeal. Still, the KSA is attempting to define limits. Total E Soft Limited and XKL Limited, who were charged penalties that totaled €180k for running the 14 Dutch fronted betting sites, were also specifically charged with violations citing the methods used deliberately targeted Dutch gamblers to attract them to the site by making it appear friendly or welcoming to them. An appeal is expected to determine the extent of national jurisdiction in regards to content portrayed on sites outside a given jurisdiction. Both gaming sites were previously warned to cease promoting services illegally in the country. It was discovered that even though the language on the sites was changed from Dutch to English, both gaming sites continued to target potential Dutch gamblers.
Another way to curtail the continued operation of unlicensed casinos in the Netherlands is to detain payment processing on the unlicensed gaming sites. The KSA is attempting to make it impossible for players to be able to participate at unlicensed gaming sites by asking payment processors to block financial transactions made by any player from the Netherlands while attempting to perform transactions with one of these sites. Payment service providers MasterCard, Mollie BV, iDEAL owner Currence, Sisow, PaySquare SE, DialXS, and members of the Netherlands payments association Betaalvereniging are already apart of the program and blocking transactions to unlicensed gaming sites. The KSA is persistently working to recruit more payment processors to be apart of the program to block financial transactions to unlicensed sites. Acknowledging that it will take a large majority of payment processors to stop transactions to unlicensed gaming sites in order for these measures to be effective in reducing or eliminating illegal gaming activity.The KSA stated, “When an illegal operator does not get money from a consumer, it is not lucrative to be active illegally.”