In an attempt to combat illegal operations of offshore betting and gambling firms, the Dutch gaming regulator has imposed fines of €3.5 million in 2019. The Netherlands’ Kansspelautoriteit(KSA) has fined a total of 10 foreign operators who provide gambling games to Dutch citizens, including one repeat offender.
The news follows an announcement made by the KSA last week that the authority was planning a crackdown on illegal gambling in 2020. In a December 20 statement, the regulator said that it would work with local authorities to stop the offering of illegal land-based games of chance such as gaming machines and underground poker tournaments.
Currently, Holland Casino is the only licensed provider of gambling services in the country while online gambling is unregulated and practically deemed illegal. Holland Casino is a state-run company and its profits go directly to the Dutch treasury. However, it offers only land-based games of chance in several establishments across the country, including in Rotterdam and Amsterdam.
Although foreign operators are not allowed to offer land-based or remote gambling and betting services to Dutch citizens, a large number of gambling companies still target players from the Netherlands by providing Dutch-language gaming platforms, as well as the Dutch online payment service iDEAL.
This year, more large gambling providers have been fined than ever before, KSA chairman René Jansen noted in a statement. The authority issued administrative fines to 1XCorp, Casumo Services, Onisac, Simbat, Spinity, Trannel International, ElectraWorks, TSG Interactive Gaming Europe, Royal Panda, and LeoVegas.
In total, the fines reached €3.5 million, which is more than double the fines imposed in 2018. Last year, the regulator issued fines in a total amount of €1.7 million. The sharp increase compared to last year can be contributed to the decision to raise the maximum fine to €200,000. It is unclear how many offenders would pay their fines but an increasing number of firms are now paying, according to Jansen. He believes that many of these companies will apply for a license under the Remote Games of Chance Act, which is expected to take effect from January 1, 2021.
Strict License Conditions Set by the Remote Gambling Act
There is hope for opening the online gambling market in the Netherlands after the Senate passed the Remote Gambling Bill in February this year. In November, Sander Dekker, the Minister for Legal Protection, who is responsible for the gambling policy in the country, informed the Lower and Upper Chambers of the Parliament that the aim is to have the new law come into effect on January 1, 2021.
Once the Remote Gambling Act is in force, operators will be able to submit license applications to the KSA. The first online gambling operations are expected to launch six months after the new gambling legislation comes into effect. The law has two main focuses – first of all, it legalizes online gambling under very strict conditions. Operators will need to pay an application fee of €45,000 and apply for one of four possible types of licenses – casino games where players compete against each other or the license holder, wagering on sports events, and betting on horse races.
Second, the Remote Gambling Act recognizes the importance of prevention of problem gambling and addiction. It sets a great number of requirements and rules that would combat this issue in both online and land-based forms of gambling.