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MKC Limited fined €900,000 in the Netherlands

| By Richard Mulligan
MKC Limited has been fined €900,000 ($950,000/£783,000) for illegally offering gambling services in the Netherlands.

The group, which was stripped of its Maltese licence earlier this year, was handed the punishment by regulator Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), for allowing Dutch residents to play at its unlicensed Betworld247 site.

According to KSA, players could create an account with Dutch address details at Betworld247 and participate in online games of chance. KSA added that no technical measures had been taken to prevent participants from the Netherlands, for example an IP blockade. MKC’s actions were in violation of the Dutch Betting and Gaming Act (WOK), which mandates all operators must be locally licensed to legally offer gaming services.

KSA said the age of participating players at Betworld247 was not visibly verified. This was an aggravating factor in the size of the fine imposed.

René Jansen, chairman of the KSA, said: “At MKC Limited, players could enter an age themselves without clear identification. This means that their website is also accessible to very vulnerable, underage players. This is a seriously culpable offence, which we have also included as an increasing factor for the fine.

“It shows once again that in many cases little attention seems to be paid to the safety of players on the illegal market.”

MKC’s cease and desist order

KSA began its investigation into MKC in May 2022 and sent a cease-and-desist letter to the group in August of that year. For the period from June 2021 to May 2022, the site drew 376,595 unique visits from Dutch consumers. MKC was offered the chance to submit evidence and attend a hearing but did not respond.

The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) cancelled MKC’s licence in July 2023 after ruling that it breached a number of regulations. Numerous breaches of gaming regulations included not making required licensing payments to the MGA and failure to meet other financial commitments related to its operations. The regulator also flagged how MKC failed to meet commitments to customers in a timely manner.

Earlier this month, KSA fined Malta-based LCS Limited €2.1m for operating in the Netherlands without a licence. After a year of legal wrangling, KSA opted to impose the fine on MGA-licensed LCS for offering gambling without a licence through its Sonofslots igaming site.

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