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Illegal operators to be fined 4% of Dutch turnover

| By Richard Mulligan
Operators illegally offering gambling in the Netherlands will be fined at least 4% of their turnover in the Dutch market under a clampdown announced by the national regulator.

De Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) has outlined a series of tougher penalties and tighter rules against unlicensed operators just weeks before the new regulated online gaming regime opens in the Netherlands in October.

The plans come after Sander Dekker, Minister of Legal Protection, this week told the regulator to formulate plans for “intensification of enforcement”.

KSA said it will prioritise action against those unlicensed operators who attract the most players, with higher fines to apply to cases that are under further investigation from 1 October. The fines are a significant increase on the €200,000 basic fine introduced in 2019.

Those illegal providers whose turnover from Dutch players exceeds €15m will be fined 4% of their turnover, with the KSA to estimate their financial position should figures be unavailable. Fines for such operators would therefore be a minimum of €600,000. For operators whose turnover is less than €15m, the basic fine is €600,000.

The regulator said fines can be higher if there are certain aggravating circumstances, such as if the illegal offer is aimed at minors, or if no information is provided about addiction prevention.

René Jansen, chairman of KSA, said: “It must pay off to apply for a permit and to offer it legally instead of illegally. That also means that it must really hurt financially if an offer is made illegally.”

As well as prioritising those unlicensed operators that attract most players, KSA will also consider consumer protection, prevention of gambling addiction and combating illegality and crime when choosing which groups to pursue. Another consideration is the games offered by the illegal operators, which may not be available via licensees. The new way of prioritising illegal supply will take effect on 1 November.

Jansen said the changes are being introduced in tandem with the implementation of the new licensed regime and the Remote Gambling Act (KOA) that came into law earlier this year.

He said: “This creates a new situation. At the end of September, it will be announced which companies have succeeded in obtaining a permit. There are strict conditions attached to a permit. Legal providers are supervised by the Gaming Authority. The intent of the law is to “channel” players from illegal to legal providers.”

Earlier this week, it was announced that Dutch gambling licensees must report serious incidents that could negatively impact trust in the sector within 72 hours under policy rules published by the regulator.

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