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Dutch regulator fines operators €1.8m for unlicensed activity

| By Robert Fletcher
Dutch gambling regulator de Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) has issued fines to Equinox Dynamic and Domiseda and Partners after ruling they were operating illegally in the country.

Curaçao-based Equinox and Domiseda from Slovakia were both ordered to pay €900,000 (£798,122/$966,201) for offering online games of chance in the Netherlands without the relevant licences.

The breaches focused on Orientxpresscasino.com, with the regulator saying both Equinox and Domiseda acted as providers for the website despite not holding a licence as required by laws set out in the country’s Betting and Gaming Act.

Users were able to play a range of online casino games, make deposits and withdrawals using Dutch payment methods, set the language to Dutch, while the site itself had an IP address in the Netherlands.  

In response, Equinox said it had taken action to block players from the Netherlands from playing on or accessing the site to ensure it was operating in line with Dutch law.

However, the regulator opted to proceed with a fine after saying the website had already breached national law by offering online gambling without a licence.

KSA also noted that there were a number of aggravating circumstances with the case in that there were no safety measures for customers accessing the site. This included a lack of age verification, meaning underage players could potentially access online gambling.

“A licensed provider of online games of chance incurs costs for applying for and maintaining a licence that illegal providers of online games of chance do not have to incur,” KSA said. 

“In addition, illegal providers do not pay any tax in the Netherlands and are not restricted in the conduct of their business by the strict rules of the Betting and Gaming Act and the associated licensing regulations. This allows illegal providers to offer games of chance that are prohibited for licence holders or offer higher prices and bonuses.

KSA chairman René Jansen added: “The objective is to create a safe environment for people who want to gamble online. This includes taking strict action against illegal providers.”

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