The Kansspelautoriteit (Ksa) has imposed fines of over 26 million euros on five parties offering illegal online gambling in the Netherlands. The most heavily fined company, N1 Interactive, had to pay almost 13 million euros. Fellow Videoslots was fined just under 10 million euros. It was the highest fine ever imposed in the Netherlands for the offence.
Illegal gambling to Dutch customers
According to Ksa, the companies were all incorporated in Malta and did not have the necessary licences to offer online gambling in the Netherlands. The fines were announced to the suppliers themselves in late December. But they then tried to prevent their verdicts from being made public through the courts. A judge rejected those requests this week, hence the regulator is now asking. The party's objection to the punishment is still under review.
That the fines are so high has to do with the turnover generated in the Netherlands. The parties involved made a lot of money from illegal online roulette, blackjack, poker, baccarat and slot machines. "We mean it. Player safety is the most important thing.
Illegal casino N1
In the case of N1 Interactive, the fact that the company had problems before also played a role. Ksa also previously fined the company. Videoslots in turn committed an additional offence of deception by falsely displaying the Ksa's word mark on its website, the regulator said. "It is this flag that is important for players to determine whether they are dealing with a legally restricted game." Other parties fined were Betpoint, Probe Investments and Fairload.
Video Slots refuted the Ksa's allegations and announced it would appeal. The company said there was no illegal revenue as it would take steps to exclude Dutch players from its gambling site. The visibility of the Ksa logo on the Videoslots website is a human error. "Therefore, no word marks will be placed to attract participants," the company responded.
Online gambling has only recently become legal in the Netherlands. There are now 24 licensed providers. If a company does not have a licence and allows Dutch people from the rest of the world to gamble via its website, it is an immediate offence. It must ensure that gambling cannot take place from a Dutch IP address.
The parties fined have since ceased their activities on the Dutch market, the Ksa said. The five remain without a licence. This will remain the case for some time, as to qualify for a licence they must not have offered online gambling games here for at least two years.