Dutch gambling fines hit record €1.7m in 2018

2 January 2019

Dutch gambling regulator Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) has revealed that it issued a record €1.7m (£1.5m/$1.9m) in fines to companies that breached rules and regulations throughout 2018.

The regulator handed out a total of 23 sanctions over the course of the last year, including seven administrative penalties, 12 penalties and four charges under administrative coercion.

An administrative penalty can be imposed without the intervention of the Public Prosecution Service or a judge, whereas a penalty is issued when the offender fails to cease an activity that violates regulations within a certain period. Administrative coercion refers to the KSA ordering an offender to take action in order to ensure they are no longer in breach of the country's gambling regulations.

Of the seven administrative fines, five related to online gaming. Betclic Everest Group's Bet-At-Home, Betsson subsidiary Corona, Mr Green operator MRG, CyberRock Entertainment and its Honeydew subsidiary, and William Hill were all found to have illegally targeted Dutch players online. Online gambling is currently prohibited in the Netherlands, with a bill to re-regulate the market stalled in the country’s legislature.

The KSA also issued an administrative fine to the owner of the internet café ITC Lounge for offering sports betting services, as well as an unnamed individual for operating two slot machines without a licence.

Financial penalties continue to increase in the Netherlands since the KSA was established in 2012. The 2018 total is significantly higher than just over €1m in 2017 and more than four times the €400,000 of fines issued in 2016.

Meanwhile, the KSA has also revealed it revoked a total of 37 gaming machine operating licences in 2018. The regulator did not disclose the full details of each ruling, but did state that in some cases the licences was terminated at the request of the licence-holder as a result of the licensee shutting down.

However, some of the companies that have been fined in recent months have hit back at the rulings.

Last month, William Hill told iGamingBusiness.com that it would be appealing a €300,000 fine from the KSA. The regulator penalised the bookmaker for offering online games of chance to Dutch consumers via its WilliamHill.com website and two mobile applications. Betsson also confirmed it is appealing against a €300,000 fine for targeting Dutch players via its Corona subsidiary.

Image: Marco Verch