Online gambling operator Kindred Group is the latest to be hit with a six-figure penalty for serving Dutch gamblers without local permission.
On Monday, the Netherlands’ Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) regulatory body announced that it had imposed a €470k penalty on Kindred’s Malta-based subsidiary Trannel International Ltd for serving Dutch gamblers through the company’s flagship online gambling brand Unibet.
The KSA said the illegal activity occurred between August and December of 2018, during which time Unibet.eu offered a Dutch-language chat service, processed customer transactions using the popular Dutch payment processor iDeal and neglected to include the Netherlands among the list of forbidden countries in Unibet’s terms and conditions.
The KSA has repeatedly stressed the transgressions listed above as sure to bring down its regulatory hammer. Earlier this month, GVC Holdings’ Bwin brand was penalized €350k for similar faults. GVC has since stated that it will pay the fine but plans to appeal the KSA’s ruling.
Kindred announced Monday that it will appeal the KSA’s ruling while awaiting the regulator’s final policies regarding sanctioned operators’ ability to apply for online gambling licenses under the Netherlands’ new regulatory scheme.
The new Dutch market is expected to launch by January 2021 and the KSA reportedly plans to start accepting applications from interested operators by July 2020. The KSA recently stated that it has already received expressions of interest from nearly 200 operators.
Kindred’s fine joins a ‘who’s who’ parade of top-tier operators who have been taken to the KSA’s regulatory woodshed. The KSA has also extended its enforcement activity against operators’ affiliated marketing partners, while warning that future transgressors would face increasingly larger penalties for behaving like ‘cowboys’.
This is the second major penalty package imposed on the Kindred Group in recent months, following the £1.6m settlement the company reached with the UK Gambling Commission after a Unibet customer was allowed to gamble with stolen funds.
Kindred investors greeted the KSA’s enforcement action with mild annoyance, pushing the company’s shares down around 4% on the Stockholm exchange by the close of Monday’s trading.