KSA hit illegal operators with unprecedented fine

KSA hit illegal operators with multi-million fine
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Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), the Dutch gambling authority, has issued fines worth more than €25m across seven separate illegal operators in the Netherlands.

Shark77 was named as one of the guilty parties in January, receiving a €900,000 fine, but the identities of the other six operators have not been published as of yet – at their request – following the punishments handed to them by the KSA last December.

The fines imposed centre around various aggravating factors.

These include: pre-filled ‘Dutch’ information, such as +31 at the entry screen for telephone numbers; an autoplay or turboplay button, so that a game cannot be interrupted and therefore bets can be much higher; unreasonable terms and conditions, such as a minimum amount for awarding or paying out prizes; not applying proper age verification; allowing prohibited payment methods, such as crypto, or be able to pay anonymously; unlawful use of the word mark of the Gaming Authority and/or falsely suggesting that one is a licensee.

The KSA has confirmed the use of its adjusted fines policy – adopted in 2021 coinciding with the introduction of the KOA Act – to determine the severity of the penalties. In addition to increasing the basic fine, a larger fine can now also be imposed on the basis of the calculated turnover.

“Never before have fines this high been handed out to illegal online gambling operators in the Netherlands,” said KSA Chair Rene Jansen, speaking at the Annual Gaming Industry Event in Amsterdam last week.

Legal proceedings are still ongoing, meaning that not full details cannot be disclosed yet, but Jansen concluded his speech with a warning to all illegal operators.

“Gambling industry regulation is based on ‘rules of play’ laid down in laws and regulations. We demand operators to abide by these rules, and they in turn rely on us to take action against abuses and illegal operators. Which we do.”