The Dutch Council of State has rejected appeals from Co-Gaming and Mansion Online Casino/ONISAC over historic fines for offering gambling services in the country without permission.
In 2014, the Netherlands Gambling Authority (KSA) issued Co-Gaming with a fine of €180,000 (£160,250/$209,000) for operating a Dutch-language website that featured Netherlands-related image such as Dutch flags.
At the time, Co-Gaming was operating as part of ComeOn Europe, but has since become part of Cherry AB.
Mansion Online Casino and ONISAC were also issued with a joint fine of €150,000 for similar activities in February 2014.
The fine was first levied in November 2013, but the companies complained to a court in The Hague and were granted a contemporary injunction. The resulting appeal has now failed.
Mansion Online Casino and ONISAC, as well as Co-Gaming, appealed to the Dutch Council of State having already failed with earlier appeals in The Hague, but the country’s highest court ruled in favour of KSA and the fines will stand.
In a statement confirming the decision, the KSA said: “The Gaming Authority uses so-called prioritisation criteria in its enforcement policy. This means that online providers of games of chance are dealt with when they focus on the Dutch consumer.
“This can be seen, for example, from the use of the Dutch language. The Council of State stated in both cases that the appeals of the parties were unfounded.”
The KSA has increased its efforts to combat unauthorised gambling activities in recent months, having issued a number of fines to various operators.
Betsson subsidiary Corona was fined €300,000 for operating in the country without the relevant licence, but the company has since appealed the decision.
In a statement, Corona said it “maintains its prior position that its operations comply with applicable laws and regulations in the absence of an EU-compliant gambling legislation in the Netherlands”.
Meanwhile, MRG last month said its Mr Green Ltd subsidiary will also appeal a fine of €312,000 for failing block Dutch players from gambling on its platforms.
MRG said in a statement that, “in its opinion”, it has complied with all guidelines in the country, with the exception of rules for IP blocking. The firm also said “most gaming operators do not practice IP blocking in the Netherlands and the company will therefore appeal the decision”.
Last month the Dutch government asked the regulator to look at plans to introduce a so-called ‘bad actor’ clause that could see some companies banned from operating in the Netherlands when the licensed regime finally launches.
Betsson has since hit out at the new proposals, with executive Pia Rosen telling iGamingBusiness.com that such a decision would run contrary to the stated targets of the Netherlands’ licensed gaming regime.
“The Dutch Government says high channelisation is the top priority, and in order to achieve that they would have to include the larger operators in the licensing system,” Rosen said.