Dutch gambling regulator boosts fines for unauthorized online gambling sites

netherlands-online-gambling-fines-doubleGambling regulators in the Netherlands will boost fines for online gambling sites targeting Dutch punters without a local license.

On Friday, the Dutch Gambling Authority aka the Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) announced it was boosting the minimum fine for unauthorized online gambling activity by €50k to €150k, effective Aug. 1, 2015. The KSA reserves the right to increase fines to a maximum of €810k for repeat offenders or those engaging in particularly egregious violations.

The KSA considers various criteria when deciding whether to crack the whip, prioritizing enforcement actions against operators using a dot-com domain, offering a Dutch-language option and advertising with Dutch-focused radio, TV or print media.

The KSA also takes into consideration the number of websites and types of gaming offered by a particular operator, the maximum prizes on offer, the maximum initial deposits and the size of any deposit bonuses. The KSA’s history with individual operators – whether it has previously issued warnings or levied fines – also helps determine the severity of the punishment.

The KSA has fined six operators over the past two years, with individual fines ranging as high as €200k. To date, only three of these fines have actually been collected, as the operators in question have indicated that they intend to apply for Dutch online licenses once the country’s politicians get around to approving their long-delayed Remote Gaming Bill.

The most recent operators to earn the KSA’s ire were UK-based Total E Soft Limited and XKL Limited, which were collectively hit with a €180k fine this week for operating a total of 14 Dutch-facing casino, poker and sports betting sites. The KSA said the sites were written in the Dutch language and made liberal use of the Netherlands’ flag in their visual layout.

Total E Soft’s representatives protested that they had blocked punters residing in the Netherlands and that the Dutch language was utilized only as a method of attracting Dutch ex-pats in other countries. The KSA rejected these arguments, saying the sites’ operators knew the risk they were taking, although it left the door open for a possible appeal.