Bet-at-home slapped with fine by Dutch watchdog

11 July 2018

Online operator bet-at-home has been fined a total of €410,000 (£362,000/$480,000) by the Kansspelautoriteit, the Netherlands Gaming Authority, after the regulator found that the online operator had targeted Dutch citizens without holding a gaming licence in the country.

The Kansspelautoriteit said that bet-at-home offered games of chance to Dutch citizens between June 14 and October 11 last year.

The regulator, which warned bet-at-home about its activities in 2012 and 2014, said it had received reports about the website apparently targeting Dutch citizens “via a television channel aimed at the Netherlands” in May last year.

The watchdog added that fines of €210,000 and €200,000 were imposed on Bet-at-home.com Entertainment Limited and Bet-at-home.com Internet Limited respectively.

“With regard to the other parties involved in the report, a warning is sufficient,” the Kansspelautoriteit said.

The regulator added that the fines imposed are fair considering “the context” of Bet-at-home’s activities following the previous warnings. The website’s operators had been informed “on several occasions” of the rules and that their advertising activities would be monitored, the Kansspelautoriteit explained.

A spokesperson for the Kansspelautoriteit added to iGamingBusiness.com: "Terminating the offence is the primary goal at all times. The enforcement action is first and foremost a means aimed at ending the violation of the laws and regulations. By imposing a punitive sanction, future violations... can be prevented."

The watchdog is continuing to impose its authority on operators as the Dutch market prepares to open up.

The Dutch parliament’s lower house approved a Remote Gambling Bill in 2016, which will introduce an online gambling licensing regime in the country.

The bill requires approval from the Senate and licensing is not expected to commence until at least 2019.

In the interim, the regulator has vowed to continue to implement enforcement measures against operators targeting Dutch players. As of June 1 last year, the Kansspelautoriteit said it would expand its approach to enforcement to pursue any operators that are “specifically and unequivocally” targeting the Dutch market.

Ahead of the Fifa World Cup in Russia, the Kansspelautoriteit pledged to crack down on illegal online gambling activities by focusing on underage betting and identifying unlicensed operators offering betting to Dutch citizens during the tournament.

The Kansspelautoriteit spokesperson added to iGamingBusiness.com that the watchdog would report on the outcome of this clampdown in relation to the World Cup following the conclusion of this year's tournament. The final will take place on Sunday.