The Netherlands government only allows Dutch players to use Netherlands based licensed sites to gamble online. Unfortunately, Netherlands gambling sites are few and far between. Companies are banned from offering iGaming services in the Netherlands without a license, but the government will only institute a licensing system next year. This means that companies are unable to conduct business with Netherlands customers until the licensing system is convened. Expressions of interest from iGaming companies wanting to operate when the laws come in are currently being taken. Taking this into consideration, iGaming companies have been warned that when it comes to handing out licenses, those who have not followed this ban will be much less likely to be considered for a license.
An Antigua-based gaming company, Imperial E-Club limited, has been fined the biggest ever penalty handed out by the Dutch gambling regulator, Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) for targeting players from the Netherlands. Imperial E-Club owns various online gaming sites running on Playtech software, but the site that was singled out for the fine was EuropaCasino.com. The fine was given due to EuropaCasino.com focusing on the Dutch market, between June 2012 and October 2013. The KSA has also investigated the company’s other sites, VegasRed.com, TitanPoker.com, CasinoTropez.com, TitanCasino.com and CasinoBellini.com. It was discovered that they were also trying to entice Dutch players, by providing Dutch language websites. The sixth site owned by Imperial E-Club limited, TitanBet.com is run only in English and therefore did not attract the interest of the KSA.
A warning was issued to the Imperial E-Club by KSA, with the result being Dutch being removed as a language from the EuropaCasino.com site. But the company was not proactive in dealing with its other sites, keeping the other five Dutch language sites functional and continuing to offer Paypal with Netherlands as a country accepting payments this way.
A fine was imposed on Imperial E-Club by the KSA in February, but incredibly, the company took the KSA to court in The Hague, requesting that an injuction be granted against the penalty. The court rejected the injuction, as well as a second injuction where the company had requested permission to publish the details of the case.
As a result, Imperial E-Club has now been fined a large €200,000 by the KSA for breaching the regulator’s laws. This penalty, while large, was given because of the number of sites that Imperial runs, as well as the amount of money Dutch citizens would have spent playing on these sites.
The KSA says that it will continue fining operators who ignore the Netherlands’ laws, and will publish their details in order to discourage others to follow the same behavior. They have done so to a variety of companies, and the fines have been extremely hefty.
Renee is an international analyst and journalist specializing in covering legal developments and legislative efforts in regulated online betting markets world wide.