The Netherlands Announce Record €1.7m in Penalties for 2018

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  • The Netherlands’ Kansspelautoriteit issues record €1.7 million gaming penalties in 2018
  • Betsson and William Hill appeal the decision in court
  • No money reportedly collected by the KSA

Authorities in the Netherlands have definitely toughened their stance on online gaming. The country’s regulator has issued fines to the tune of €1.7 million in 2018, the largest the country has seen in its history.

Breaking the Law and Paying Gaming Fines in the Netherlands

In 2018, the gaming regulatory authority in the Netherlands, the Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), issued a collective amount of €1.7 million to various operators which had been targeted by the watchdog as suppliers of illegal gaming opportunities.

While, the Netherlands’ efforts to regulate the industry and introduce a way for respected brands to move into the country and start offering gambling services have stalled, the KSA has been adamant about revving up the amount of penalties. From the standpoint of the watchdog, this makes perfect sense, as per active legislation, online casinos are not allowed to accept Dutch gamers and those Dutch-facing websites are breaking the law.

Even when talks about regulating the industry were at their highest, the KSA argued that even if online casinos are allowed to operate, they would have to either pay a hefty fine (in the cases they had offered products to Dutch gamers before obtaining a proper license) or be forever banned from the market.

Looking at the numbers, 2018 marked the highest penalties on record, with €1,709,800 in issued fines. That was a substantial uptick from 2017’s €1 million and around four times more than 2016-levels.

In a sense, the KSA has become very progressive in its tax collection practices. Of course, the penalties slapped on operators in the Netherlands pale in comparison with markets such as the United Kingdom where the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) issued close to £30 million worth of penalties in 2018, including:

  • Stride Gaming
  • 32Red
  • Casumo
  • Videoslots
  • William Hill and others

The penalties meted out to established operators in the UK ranged between £1 and £8 million, hefty prices to pay for any operator. Meanwhile, the hike in the overall number of penalties in the Netherlands has been occasioned by the aforementioned developments whereby the KSA vowed to take a tougher stance on illegal or bad operators.

The penalties have been issued to five operators holding down international incenses and operating in specific regulations. However, none of the companies held a Dutch license, hence the penalty. The affected operators included:

  • Mr. Green
  • William Hill
  • Bet-at-Home
  • Betsson
  • CyberRock/Honeydew

Betsson has been one of the companies to seek a legal outcome of the developments, challenging the ruling of the KSA. However, Dutch courts are far from sympathetic with such appeals, leaving to a vacuum in the relationship between operators and the government. William Hill is also fighting a €300,000 fine.

Because the fined operators are beyond the jurisdiction of the KSA, collecting the fines will be a nearly impossible task. For example, the KSA has not said how much of the fines it has managed to collect, but it’s very likely that none of the companies has agreed to pay yet.

While the Remote Gambling Bill is still in limbo, many operators may be shutting down a way into the country’s gaming market, even though legalization may not come any time soon. Meanwhile, the KSA has been busy at home, taking the license of 37 gaming machine operators in the country.

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