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Betsson closes Casino Winner brand

| By Zak Thomas-Akoo
Swedish gaming operator Betsson has closed down its formerly Dutch-facing brand Casino Winner, having blocked all customers from the country in 2021.

Betsson operated the brand through its Corona Ltd subsidiary, which controls both the Casino Winner and Loyal Casino businesses. The two sites – which were previously known as Kroon Casino and Oranje Casino properties respectively – are controlled through Betsson’s MGA-licensed subsidiary Corona Ltd.   

Betsson acquired both properties in 2014 “based on the outcome of the anticipated re-regulation in Holland,” from three entrepreneurs for €130m (£114.4m/€138.1m).

However, it would be another seven years before that regulation came into effect.

“In 2019, Kroon Casino underwent a rebranding process to comply with the Dutch regulations on online gambling at the time and became known as Casino Winner,” said a Betsson spokesman responding to a request to comment from iGB.

The operator continued that the closing of the site was put into motion in order to ensure compliance with the licensing requirements of the Dutch market.

“Casino Winner then completely stopped all services to Dutch customers in September 2021. While Casino Winner served multiple regions, Betsson Group has decided to halt operations in order to fulfil the technical requirements necessary for entry into the Dutch market. This is subject to Betsson Group obtaining a license from the Dutch authorities.”

Kroon rebrands to Casino Winner

Kroon rebranded less than a year after Betsson was fined by Dutch regulator de Kansspelautoriteit for “targeting” players in the Dutch market before it had opened. Among the reasons for the fine, the regulator noted that the Kroon brand name – the Dutch word for crown – suggested it was aimed at Dutch players.

The KSA issued the fine to the operator for offering games of chance to users in the Netherlands without being in possession of a local licence. The fine happened in the context of the Dutch legislature rapidly moving forward with the creation of a legalised local market.   

“Betsson shares KSA’s ambition to achieve a high channelisation of customers into any future locally regulated environment in the Netherlands and supports the Dutch government’s ambition in moving forward with the legislative process,” Betsson CEO Pontus Lindwall said at the time that the fine was announced.

When the Dutch market did open, Betsson blocked Dutch customers from all of its sites, as it awaited a local licence.

However, more than a year on from the launch of the country’s regulated gaming market on 1 October 2021, Betsson is yet to have receive a local licence from the regulator, which has approved fewer than 20 operators. 

The halting of Casino Winner’s operations may then see the operator another step closer to launching in the market.

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