Gaming Authority increases fines for illegal online gambling

The fine policy is being updated and will be effective from March 1, 2019. It is clearly stated that it has nothing to do with the developments surrounding the new gaming legislation. While the starting fine was previously 150,000 euros, it will become 200,000 euros with the new policy.

Main task: protecting consumers

The main goals of the Gaming Authority are to protect consumers, prevent gambling addiction and combat illegality & criminality. Another priority is to combat online games of chance that are offered without a license. It is still unclear whether online gambling sites are reliable and whether players remain well enough protected against undesirable situations.

Risk for the playerRisk for the player Source:

New bill

On February 19, 2019, the Senate approved a new Bill on Remote Gaming. In the meantime, the Gaming Authority is still taking strict action against gambling companies with unlicensed online games of chance. Even though it will be possible to obtain a license in the future, not every company will qualify just like that.

Possible increase or decrease

The Ksa bases their fine on a starting amount that is the same for each offender according to the fine policy. The starting fine is increased based on the range of games, the maximum number of prizes to be won and whether you can bet live online. Further, based on the maximum amount of deposits, wagering limits or bonuses, the fines are increased. Charging inactive consumers and making false announcements about such licenses or regulators are also dealt with severely. They even look at the number of websites the company has under management.

Why higher fines for the above points?

The size of the game offer and the amount of prizes to be won can increase the attractiveness of online gambling. This tempts more players to engage in immoderate gaming behavior or to spend their money unwisely. Other circumstances leading to increased attractiveness have also been considered in determining the basic fine. Live betting does not have a fixed offer. Because of this, the Ksa has decided to apply a fixed increase of 75,000 euros if live betting is offered to consumers.

The fees charged for inactive accounts disadvantage consumers. The online gambling providers know no quid pro quo for these high costs. Should an operator charge when a consumer is inactive, it runs the risk of getting another 75,000 euro increase on top of it. If a website makes false or inaccurate statements about licenses or foreign regulators, another 75,000 euro increase is applied.

When will the fine be increased or decreased?

If the Ksa can determine whether the circumstances are fine increasing or fine decreasing, the fine can be higher or lower.

The fine is increased in the following cases:

  • If the provider of online games of chance has previously received a warning from the Ksa, OM or another
    enforcement organization, the fine can be increased by 25%.
  • The fine will be increased by 100% if the provider in question has already been fined.
  • An additional fine of 10% can be charged per month. This is rounded off to whole months.
  • 50% additional if the provider targets minority or other vulnerable populations.
  • Under special circumstances.

The rule also applies if a provider has previously been fined under a different company name. If gambling sites present themselves in a way that makes it seem as if they are targeting minors or vulnerable groups (for example, offering board games and games of skill), while offering illegal online games of chance – the Ksa gives an additional fine of 75,000 euros.

There are also a number of fine-reducing circumstances and these are only effective if the provider cooperates more than the ‘legally required’ in an investigation. This can reduce the fine by 25%. Information that helps find involved individuals and organizations can also reduce the starting fine. If a company is not sufficiently familiar with Dutch regulations – or does not master the Dutch language well enough, there is no reason to reduce the starting fine.

Information on fines

Via the website of the Kansspelautoriteit it is possible to see how the fine policy is applied. As of March 1, 2019, the Ksa will increase its fines, with the basic amount being EUR 200,000, with the possibility of increasing or decreasing this amount after further investigation.