Dutch Gambling Authority Hands out €750,000 in Fines

  • Two online gambling operators fined for illegally targeting Dutch residents
  • LeoVegas fined €350,000 ($386,000) and its subsidiary Royal Panda fined €400,000 ($441,000)
  • Both brands will have to wait two years before applying for a license in the Netherlands
Netherlands flag with black background.
Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), the Dutch gambling authority, has fined LeoVegas and Royal Panda for accepting wagers from residents of the Netherlands. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Two operators fined

Two major gambling operators have been fined a total of €750,000 ($828,000) by Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), the Dutch gambling authority.

Malta-based LeoVegas received a fine of €350,000 ($386,000). Royal Panda, a subsidiary of LeoVegas, was also fined €400,000 ($441,000). These fines relate to offenses that took place between August 2018 and January 2019.

Both brands accepted payments from Dutch IP addresses through the popular iDEAL payment processor

The offenses in question are typical for KSA fines. The authority alleges that these two online gambling platforms were allowing Dutch customers to use their platforms, depsite not having a license to offer its services in the country.

Both brands accepted payments from Dutch IP addresses through the popular iDEAL payment processor. KSA also ruled that the operators offered games of chance that are not legal in the Netherlands.

Implications for both brands

LeoVegas acquired RoyalPanda at the end of 2017. Both brands were hoping to gain a foothold in the upcoming regulated online gambling market in the Netherlands.

two-year suspension before they can apply for a legitimate license

This new sector is set to go live by the start of 2021. However, both LeoVegas and Royal Panda will face a delay in applying for licenses as a result of their transgressions. The Dutch government is imposing a two-year suspension before they can apply for a legitimate license.

The government labelled the operators “cowboys”, as they continued to target Dutch residents despite multiple warnings.

Troubles continue for LeoVegas

This is not the first time LeoVegas has fallen foul of a national gambling regulator. It was only this week that it won a court ruling in Sweden allowing it to extend its two-year online gambling license to five years.

The original reasoning for the Swedish authorities to curtail LeoVegas’ license was due to its previous transgressions in the United Kingdom market. This dates back to May 2018 when the company was slapped with a £600,000 ($756,000) fine by the UK Gambling Commission.

Dutch crackdown

Over the past couple of years, the KSA has been significantly cracking down on overseas online gambling platforms targeting its residents.

In recent months, the KSA fined PokerStars €400,000 ($441,000), Unibet €350,000 ($386,000), and Bwin €350,000 ($386,000). Each time an operator is deemed to be in breach of state laws, the size of the fine increases.

The authority is on track to surpass the €1.8m ($2m) in fines it handed out in 2018. This compares to €1m ($1.1m) in fines in 2017, and €410,00 ($453,000) in 2016.