Dutch regulator fines Casino.com €450k for online gambling antics


casino-com-onisac-netherlands-online-gambling-penaltyDutch gambling regulators have doled out another six-figure financial penalty to an operator serving local punters without a local license.

On Tuesday, the Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) regulatory body announced it had imposed a €450k penalty on Gibraltar-based Onisac Ltd, which operates the Casino.com gambling site. The KSA maintains that the operator is guilty of offering online games of chance to Netherlands residents in violation of the current rules.

The KSA broke down the financial penalty as follows: €200k was imposed due to the site offering online games of chance without local permission. An additional €200k was imposed because this wasn’t Onisac’s first trip to the KSA’s penalty box, having been similarly penalized way back in 2013. (Onisac appealed this 2013 ruling but found no sympathizers on Dutch court benches.)

The remaining €50k penalty was imposed due to the site charging its customers “unreasonable administration costs.” These charges included a 5% monthly administration fee if a customer’s account was inactive for over 180 days. The inactivity fees ranged from a minimum of €15 to a maximum of €500 and continued until the customer’s account was fully drained of funds. The KSA viewed this practice as “an unreasonable disadvantage for consumers.”

This is the second six-figure penalty the KSA has issued against an online operator this month. On April 1, Malta-licensed Casumo Services Ltd was penalized €310k for similarly unauthorized activity.

In February, the KSA announced its intention to impose “terrifying” new penalties starting March 1 in the hope of demonstrating its resolve in eliminating unauthorized gambling activity within Dutch borders. (It bears noting that the KSA has proven infinitely more adept at issuing these fines than actually collecting them.)

Onisac Ltd has announced its intention to appeal its latest Dutch fine, although its chances of success appear no better than last time. The KSA noted that Casino.com has since stopped serving Dutch customers, but this recidivism doesn’t bode well for Onisac’s ability to acquire a new online gambling license under the Netherlands’ liberalized market.

The Dutch government isn’t expected to begin issuing new online gambling licenses until mid-2020 at the earliest, but ‘cowboy’ operators such as Onisac will likely have to wait an additional two years as penance for their refusal to abide by the KSA’s edicts in the pre-liberalized market.