Royal Panda and LeoVegas Fined $825K by KSA

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The Kansspelautoriteit gaming regulator's logo in the Netherlands.
  • LeoVegas Gaming plc-owned brands fined $825K
  • iDEAL and localized gambling help line offered on PokerStars.eu
  • William Hill and Betsson among some of the companies fined previously

The Dutch gaming regulator, Kansspelautoriteit, issued fines totalling $825,000 to LeoVegas and Royal Panda over unlawful targeting of Dutch gamers.

Dutch Gambling Regulator Fines LeoVegas and Royal Panda

Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), the Dutch’s gaming regulatory authority, has issued two fines to LeoVegas and Royal Panda, for extending casino products to Dutch players, without a proper license.

The companies have been slapped with a $440,000 (€400,000) and $385,000 (€350,000) for Royal Panda and LeoVegas respectively. KSA pointed out that the companies hadn’t taken the necessary precautions to limit access from players based within the Netherlands where online gambling is still illegal. Anyone with a Dutch IP could access the sites.

Furthermore, KSA cited the availability of iDEAL, a native payment option accessible to Dutch players. The period of the fine spawns the four months between August 2018 and January 2019 for both operators, when KSA was conducting its observations of the operators’ business.

According to KSA, Royal Panda offered specific bonuses and promotions to Dutch gamers along with a loyalty program, incentivizing further play. This proved a double whammy for LeoVegas Gaming plc, as the company owns both LeoVegas and Royal Panda, which the company acquired in 2017 for €60 million at the time of the purchase.

In another instant, regarding PokerStars.eu – which was also fined – the card room had links to two problem gambling organizations based in the country.

Are LeoVegas and Royal Panda Bad Players?

KSA has been adamant against the so-called ‘bad player’ casinos – operators which have been running casino products and targeting Dutch players without the necessary permit.

Given that no such license still exists, all companies that have been fined so far by KSA may not be able to obtain a proper license when the Netherlands finally legalize their gambling industry.

The Stars Group Interactive Gaming Europe Limited, a subsidiary to the namesake gaming giant – now acquired by Flutter Entertainment – has also came under regulatory fire and was fined €400,000 earlier this year. In the case of PokerStars.eu, owned by TSG, the website had forgotten to list the Netherlands as a restricted territory.  

The list of operators to be fined – for running either casino or betting products – includes Mr Green, William Hill, Kindred Group, Betsson and others. All of them may be unable to obtain a market license as a result.

William Hill and Betsson have said that they would contest the fine and so far, have refused to pay. KSA has issued a record number of fines in 2018 with the number hitting €1.7 million over the period.

The Netherlands is expected to pass into the land of regulated markets on January 2021, and become the latest country in Europe that has fully legalized its market, after Sweden did in January, 2019.

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