The Dutch gaming authority, Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), has been given permission by lawmakers to fine foreign gambling operators who offer their online services to Dutch players, setting a new standard for the iGaming industry in the Netherlands.
The District Court in the Hague determined Kansspelautoriteit was operating within its rights when it issued six-digit fines to three different online gambling companies for servicing the Dutch market without a relevant license from the gaming authority.
The companies in question were Co-Gaming Limited (formerly ComeOn Europe), which holds a license from the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA), Mansion Online Casino Ltd and ONISAC Ltd, both which are licensed by the Gibraltar Betting & Gaming Association (GBGA). All three of the companies paid their fines, but later decided to appeal their cases in the District Court.
The court ruled that Kansspelautoriteit was upholding its right to “levy massive fines on foreign online gambling providers offering their products and services to players in the country without a local license” and that the course of action was in compliance with laws set by the European Union.
A statement released by Kansspelautoriteit said, “The gaming authority is pleased that the court supports its policy to address these providers in the interests of consumer protection.
“The current law now does not provide the opportunity to legally bet online. Operators therefore do not bind to strict conditions. With illegal online gambling players (consumers) face risks such as manipulated games, gambling addiction and gambling debts.”
The ruling has set a precedence for the Netherlands, which is in the process of amending its online gambling laws. Online gambling is currently illegal in the Netherlands, unless the operator has been granted a license from Kansspelautoriteit, does not operate in the Dutch language, does not use a .com address and does not advertise through television, print or radio. Online gambling sites must also refrain from using any features or images considered to be typically Dutch, like windmills, clogs or the Dutch flag.
A draft Remote Gambling bill (KOA) is currently making its way through the Upper House of Parliament. If approved, the Remote Gambling Act intends to regulate online gambling and provide the basis for a licensing system where Dutch players will be allowed to take part in online gambling in a safe and regulated environment. It would also open the Dutch online casino market up to foreign competition and put regulations in place regarding online casino payments.
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