Dutch KSA Fines Unibet as Illicit Online Gambling Crackdown Expands

  • Netherlands Kansspelautoriteit (Ksa) spanks Unibet.eu for targeting Dutch consumers
  • Ksa's latest penalty continues focus on use of prominent Dutch iDEAL payment channel
  • Dutch-language customer support also cited as mitigating factor in penalty
  • Unibet parent Kindred Group immediately announces appeal of fine
Landscape with tulips, traditional Dutch houses and windmills.
Netherlands online gambling regulator Kansspelautoriteit (Ksa) has deemed that any active measures targeting Dutch gamblers are a violation of law. [Image: Shutterstock]

Unibet hit with €470,000 penalty

The Netherlands Gambling Authority, also called the Kansspelautoriteit (Ksa), has handed down its second major financial penalty this month against international operators found to have targeted Dutch online gamblers.

The Ksa fined Unibet.eu parent entity Trannel International Limited €470,000 for providing Dutch-language payment channels and support services for a five-month period in late 2018.

The Ksa fined Unibet.eu parent entity Trannel International Limited €470,000.

Unibet becomes the second major Euro operator to earn the Ksa’s wrath this August. Just two weeks ago, bwin, now a part of GVC Holdings, caught a €350,000 penalty for similar rules-evading violations.

The Unibet findings and penalty make it clear that Dutch authorities have maintained continuing oversight over certain payment and marketing channels and that further penalties are a strong possibility.

Dutch payment processor a key link

As with the bwin case, the Unibet penalties center on that site’s implementation of the Netherlands-dedicated online payment service iDEAL.

iDEAL is owned by the Dutch company Currence and in some recent years has processed more than half of all online payment transactions originating from the country.

Unibet was found to have ignored a restriction on implementing Dutch-based services as decreed by the Ksa in July 2017. Among several rules-tightening clarifications, the Ksa deemed that “the use of means of payment that are exclusively or largely through Dutch entities” was forbidden.

The Ksa also found Unibet offered Dutch-language support during the period spanned by the ruling, August through December of 2018. Mirroring the recent bwin ruling, the Ksa allowed over a year for Unibet to comply with the July 2017 enhanced restrictions.

Unibet to appeal penalty

Unibet’s ultimate parent, Kindred Group, acknowledged the fine but immediately announced its plans to appeal the ruling. Unibet will base its appeal a belief that the Netherlands’ 1964 Gambling Act remains the sole regulatory vehicle until such time as the country’s recently approved Remote Gambling Bill becomes fully enacted in 2021.

Such a reliance on the 1964 law implies a belief by Kindred that all online-gambling restrictions and guidelines implemented by the Netherlands’ Ksa since its inception in 2012 lack the full force of Dutch law.

This will be among the foremost issues examined when Kindred’s appeal is heard.

While pushing for “increased clarity,” Kindred Group also stated: “Kindred respects any requests from the Dutch regulator and is fully compliant with the rules set out by the Ministry of Justice and Security earlier this year. Kindred remains committed to having a constructive dialogue with the regulator and other stakeholders.”