Dutch gambling regulator Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) has issued 1xBet with a fine of €400,000 (£344,200/$454,500) for targeting consumers in the country without permission.
The penalty relates to the companies behind two websites: 1X Corp. N.V. in Curaçao, which runs the 1xBet.com website and, and Cyprus-based Exinvest Limited and its xbet-1.com site.
In its report, the KSA has said both sites were accessible from the Netherlands, despite neither website having the relevant approval to operate in the country. Online gambling is currently prohibited in the Netherlands.
Both 1xBet.com and xbet-1.com also had a Dutch language feature, as well as the option to make deposits via Dutch-specific payment method ideal, which is only available to those with a Netherlands bank account.
Each site featured various games of chance, including live casino games roulette and blackjack.
In addition, the KSA has said both Exinvest Limited and 1X Corp. N.V. are behind another 83 gambling websites targeted at the Dutch market. Although the report did not go into full detail, the regulator said these sites were accessible using the same login details from 1xBet.com and xbet-1.com.
“Online gambling in the Netherlands is illegal; under the current legal regime for companies it is not possible to get a licence for offering online games of chance,” KSA chair René Jansen said.
“Consumers are not assured of a safe game on an honest market with illegal providers.”
1xBet is the latest operator to face a financial penalty for illegal operation in the Netherlands. In December, William Hill was fined €300,000 for targeting players in the country without approval, but vowed to appeal against the ruling.
MRG was also fined €312,500 for failing to block Dutch players from gambling on its platforms, while Betsson Group subsidiary Corona Ltd was fined €300,000 for operating in the country without a licence. Corona later appealed against the ruling.
The latest fine comes after the Dutch Senate last week moved to pass the Remote Gaming Act, paving the way for the roll-out of igaming regulation in the country.
It is expected that licences will be issued from mid-2020, with operators required to develop comprehensive responsible gaming strategies to offer a high level of player protection. Operators will be taxed at 29.1% of gross revenue.
Regulation could help tackle illegal gambling problems in the country, as, despite KSA efforts to crack down on unlicensed activity, a survey commissioned by land-based operator Holland Casino in January revealed that the number of citizens gambling via illegal sites had risen to around 1.8m.