25 Potentially Illegal Gambling Websites Facing Є600,000 Fines from Dutch Gambling Regulator KSA

  • The investigation heralds KSA’s first under the recently regulated online Dutch market
  • If the turnover of an illegal operator is under Є15m, the standard fine is Є600,000 ($681,885)
  • Entain, Betsson, Flutter, Kindred, 888, and Casumo have already withdrawn from the market
  • PSPs including Skrill, Neteller, and Trustly, have withdrawn their services to unlicensed operators
  • The intent of the new Dutch gaming law is to transition gamblers from illegal to legal operators
Laptop keyboard with Netherlands flag and "danger" keys
The KSA is going after its first potentially illegal gambling websites since the Netherlands launched its regulated online market for the first time in October. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Illegal sites subject to fines

The Dutch gambling regulator Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), has announced its investigation into the activities of 25 gambling websites that may be illegally operating in the Netherlands and therefore subject to fines starting from a standard Є600,000 ($681,885).

The agency took to Twitter on November 15 to announce that now that licensed online gaming in the Netherlands is legal, the investigation represented “the first step in [its] new enforcement policy.”

According to a news release, the KSA said that if it discovers bettors in the Netherlands can play on the 25 gambling websites in question, it will take “enforcement action.”

If the KSA finds the as yet unnamed websites in breach of Dutch gambling laws, they will be the first to reap the consequences of the online enforcement policy the Netherlands beefed up on November 1, complete with stricter new penalties and fines. According to the KSA, if the turnover of an illegal operator is over Є15m ($17m) “the fine is related to the turnover and amounts to 4% thereof.” If the turnover of an illegal operator is under Є15m, the standard fine is Є600,000 ($681,885).

Watch this space

The KSA’s press release gave no idea of how long the investigation will take. When the regulatory body does conclude its findings and makes them public, it will be of major interest who the culprits are, if any are leading household names, and how much they’ll have to pony up in fines.

Several leading online brands have already expeditiously gotten out of Dutch Dodge, including Entain, Betsson, Flutter, Kindred, 888, and Casumo.

Netherlands-facing B2B gaming, betting and lottery news outlet Gaming in Holland cited 888 as stating its withdrawal from the Dutch online market, while it applies for its license, will cost 888 Holdings a projected $10m in EBITDA in 2022. Casumo, meanwhile, already felt the wrath of the KSA in 2019. It got hit with a €310,000 ($352,425) fine for offering online gambling services in the Netherlands without a license.

Thanks to the new Dutch Remote Gambling Act, licensed operators have been able to offer games of chance online since October 2021. Those awarded licenses to operate in the country include Bet365, Playtech-partnered Holland Casino, and GGPoker. The KSA said while a number of online betting operators, such as 888, have toed the legal line and ensured they were no longer reachable from the Netherlands, “others did not.”

Exposing iIlegal operators a KSA priority

Advertisers and payment service providers (PSPs) are also risk prosecution for working with unlicensed gambling operators. Several top PSPs in the Netherlands, including Skrill, Neteller, and Trustly, have withdrawn their services from companies that might potentially land them in hot water. It is not yet clear, however, whether any PSPs have received any injunctions from the KSA, which is empowered to issue firms with binding instructions regarding online gambling.

intent of the new laws was “to ‘channel’ players from illegal to legal providers”

KSA chairman René Jansen spoke of the strict conditions attached to gaining a legal Dutch online gambling license ahead of the October 1 launch. Jansen said that the KSA supervised legal providers, and that the intent of the new laws was “to ‘channel’ players from illegal to legal providers.”

In Monday’s press release, the KSA said the more people gamble with illegal providers, the more priority the authority will give those providers. The 25 online gambling websites under investigation can, meanwhile, consider now themselves a KSA priority.