Ksa warns of enforcement action with 25 websites under investigation

The Dutch regulator has stated that it is closely examining the operations of 25 unlicensed, and as yet unnamed, gambling websites in a bid to ensure that they are not engaging consumers within the country.

The Kansspelautoriteit does warn, however, that “if it is possible to participate in a game of chance on those websites from the Netherlands, sanctions will follow”.

Furthermore, it is added that enforcement action could also be taken against “promoters of these games of chance,” with the Ksa citing payment service providers and advertisers.

This comes after the gaming authority detailed a new approach to illegal online operators earlier in the year, which comes into effect upon the long awaited opening of the country’s legalised online gambling market, which took place at midnight (Friday 1 October).

The saw the Ksa announce that it had modified its enforcement policy to adopt significantly increased penalty charges on unlicensed actors.

Should an unlicensed operator’s turnover exceed €15m, the entity in question would face a fine four per cent of the figure in question, with a basic fine of €600,000 applicable to those whose turnover falls below €15m. If the turnover of the company is not known, the Ksa states that it will estimate the amount.

René Jansen, chair of the Gaming Authority, said at the time of introduction: “This creates a new situation. At the end of September, it will be known which companies have succeeded in obtaining a permit. 

“A permit is subject to strict conditions. Legal providers are supervised by the Gaming Authority. The intention of the law is to ‘channel’ players from illegal to legal providers.”

KSA did not disclose any names of the operators it was monitoring, or whether the operators were awaiting a Dutch licence approval under the existing cooling-off arrangement.

Despite failing to secure market opening licences, European igaming operators such as Entain, Kindred, LeoVegas and Betsson, announced that they would block all Dutch customer traffic and services, complying with regulatory orders.

Prior to market launch, KSA unveiled that just 10 operators had passed its licensing requirements, a figure significantly lower than the 28 licences that were previously anticipated by the regulator. 

This saw the Toto Online brand of Nederlandse Loterij; Dutch arcade group FPO Netherlands; Holland Casino; and NSUS Malta, which counts GGPoker as part of its stable; all gain approvals.

Further entrants included Estonia’s Play North, operator of the Rocket Casino and Pikakasino brands, bingo operator Tombola, bet365; Belgian brand Bingoal, Italy’s Betent; and LiveScore Malta.