The five iGaming operators who have come under fire from the Dutch gaming authority for breaching regulations can finally be named after the courts rejected their appeal for anonymity. The Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) took action against N1 Interactive, Videoslots, Probe Investments, Fairload Limited and Betpoint Group, following investigations which found the operators were offering online gambling in the Netherlands despite not being licensed to do so.
The regulator subsequently issued more than €26 million in fines. Operators were fined in proportion to their earnings. Having previously been penalised for operating without a licence in July 2021, N1 Interactive was fined €12.6 million for committing the same offence. This was the largest among all the fines issued.
Having all been found to be operating without a licence in the Netherlands, Betpoint Group received a €1.8 million fine, Probe Investments were issued a €1.1 million fine, and Fairload were given a €900,000 penalty.
As online gambling has only been regulated in the Netherlands since 2021, it is not unexpected that the Dutch gaming authority have decided to send a strong message to those found in violation of the rules. Indeed, René Jansen, KSA chairman, was quick to point this out, stating: ”We mean business. Player safety is paramount. A fine is to hit where it hurts, so in the wallet”, stating that the fines were so large as to “impose an appropriate sanction, given the illegal earnings”.
Jansen added, “Offering online games of chance to players in the Netherlands is only allowed with a license from the KSA. Strict rules and regulations apply to ensure that there is a safe legal offer”. The KSA makes it a priority to ensure “players are assured of a fair game and are protected against gambling addiction”.
The fine issued to Videoslots for €9.9 million seems to have come with an extra helping of controversy. While the KSA say that Videoslots displayed their mark of authenticity on their website despite the fact that they were not licensed, Videoslots have said that this was a mistake that was quickly rectified.
The operator not only claimed that the regulator’s logo was briefly displayed in error, and then swiftly removed, but also that in fact the KSA misused the ‘mystery shopping regime’ and had unlawfully accessed their site. They say that by failing to sign up as a customer located in the Netherlands, the KSA accessed their site in bad faith by claiming to be in Germany, and this allowed them to place a bet. Videoslots CEO Ulle Skottling remains adamant that, “No Dutch players were able to access the site during the disputed period”, insisting that therefore there was no violation of the rules, and they will continue to dispute the allegations and penalties, saying “there is no basis for it and all sense of proportionality is missing”.