Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), a Dutch gambling regulator, levied penalties worth a combined € 3.5 m (£ 3.0m/$3.9 m) in 2019, a 105.8 percent increase from 2018.
A total of ten fines were issued in the year by the KSA. The fines were given in February to 1xBet, in April to Casumo Services and Onisac, in June to Simbat and Spinity, in August to Trannel International and ElectraWorks, in September to The Stars Group and in October to Royal Panda and LeoVegas. Seven fines had been imposed in 2018.
KSA Chairman René Jansen said the rise in fines was due to more strict enforcement of rules and higher penalties against targeting online gambling Dutch players in the run-up to the launch of the controlled Dutch market, scheduled for 1 July 2021.
“The online gaming offer is huge. Enforcement choices must be made,” Jansen said. “In mid-2017, while awaiting the legalisation of online gambling, the KSA tightened the criteria it uses to select online providers for enforcement measures. These criteria are all aimed at protecting Dutch consumers against illegal online offers. Parties that use the Dutch language, Dutch symbols and Dutch payment methods, for example, will have to deal with the KSA.
“There are several reasons for the doubling of the amount collected. For example, the basic fine has been increased, a recidivist has been included and more large providers have been fined than before.”
Jansen added that he could not promise that any fine would be charged, but that failure to pay would prohibit any gambling company from obtaining a licence when the market is opened.
The KSA announced in November 2019 that it will start advertising operators who refuse to pay fines to help consumers identify unlicensed and illegal websites.
“We cannot yet say whether the fines imposed in 2019 will all be paid, because there are still time limits. We do see, however, that more and more people do pay,” Jansen said. “That is, we think, because the Remote Gambling Act has been adopted by the Senate. Probably from 1 January 2021 online gambling licences can be applied for.
“If a fine has not been paid, we consider a party to be unreliable. And by definition, non-reliable means no licence.”
In addition, in 2019, the KSA revoked 41 slot machine operating licences. The regulator said most of this licence revoked was due to failure to pay fees or failure to test reliability.
Jansen said the battle against offers for online gambling would begin in 2020.
“We will continue to [punish illegal gambling operators] long as online offerings are illegal,” Jansen said. “Earlier this month we announced that we will be adding age verification as a criterion from January 1, 2020. Illegal providers of online gambling who do not visibly verify the age of participants before the registration process is completed, will be dealt with as a priority.
“Preventing minors from taking part in gambling is an important priority of the KSA.”