10 March 2023

Enforcement by KSA against illegal offering of remote gambling

Category: Gaming law

The Act on Remote Gaming (Wet Kansspelen op afstand – Koa) legalizes and regulates online games of chance in the Netherlands. From 1 October 2021 it is possible to offer gambling via the Internet legally if the Dutch Gambling Authority Ksa has granted a license. Enforcement of illegal online providers will be tougher  the KSA, the Dutch Gambling authority, has announced.

Law enforcement of KSA against illegal online operators

The KSA has fined several illegal providers who allow Dutch players to use their website. On March 3, 2023  the KSA publicly announced and published 5 fines for the total amount of EUR 26 mio. Several Maltese providers received the fine. They can object againt the penalities in a complaints procedure and subsequently they can take the case to the Dutch administrative court. Some already announced they will do so because they believe KSA’s mystery shopper has gained unauthorized access to the websites.

Enforcement of illegal remote gambling

From October 1, 2021 it is possible to participate in games of chance via the Internet at legal providers. The Dutch Kansspelautoriteit (Ksa) has issued remote gambling licences to several providers. The Ksa is changing its priority and penalty policy regarding illegal gaming providers. A package of enforcement measures must ensure that players opt for legal online gambling as of October 1. With legal providers, gambling participants can play in a safe environment, where there is reliable gaming and sufficient attention to gambling addiction.

License for remote gambling in the Netherlands

Gaming providers can apply for  licence with the KSA for casino games, sports betting as well as horse races. In principle, the licence holder must have its registered office, central administration or principal place of business in an EU or EEA member state. Our firm has supported a couple of providers in the licence procedures. The licence is granted for a period of a maximum of five years. The license is not transferable. A procedure other than transfer is possible, after receiving permission from the games of chance authority. This is the case, for example, in situations where there is a merger or division of the license holder. More on the step-by-step plan for an online gambling licence you can read here.

Legal enforcement against illegal gambling  as from October 1, 2021

René Jansen, chairman of the Kansspelautoriteit, says: “This creates a new situation. At the end of September it will be known which companies have succeeded in obtaining a license. A license is subject to strict conditions. Legal providers are under the supervision of the Chancellor’s Office. The intention of the law is to ‘channel’ players from illegal to legal providers.’

An important change in the policy is that the fine for illegally offering online games of chance, will be significantly increased. These higher fines apply to cases under further investigation as of October 1. The ne penalty policy has been published by the KSA.

If the turnover of an illegal provider exceeds 15 million euros, the fine will be related to the turnover and will amount to 4 percent thereof. If the turnover of the company is not known, the Kansspelautoriteit estimates the amount. If the turnover of the company in question is less than 15 million euros, the basic fine is 600,000 euros. In both cases the fine can be higher if there are certain aggravating circumstances, for example, if the illegal offer is aimed at minors, or if no information is given on addiction prevention.

Illegal gambling websites under investigation

On November 15, 2021 the KSA has announced it has listed 25 suspect websites that are under investigation. The selection of the 25 websites is a first step in the implementation of the enforcement policy of KSA The reason for the new policy is already mentioned, above that since October 1, the amended Dutch Betting and Gaming Act (Wet op de kansspelen) makes it possible to offer legal games of chance via the Internet with a license. With legal providers, gambling participants can play in a safe environment, where there is a reliable game and sufficient attention to gambling addiction. An objective of the law is to “channel” players from illegal to legal providers, according to KSA. If the Ksa finds that it is possible to play from the Netherlands at the 25 selected websites, the Ksa will take enforcement action.

Penalty procedure of the Dutch Gambling Authority KSA

The regulatory authority KSA can issue a penalty or administrative coercion against illegal offerings of online gaming. Our firm handles appeal procedures against such a penalty decision. A Dutch administrative lawyer can lodge an objection against a decision by a regulatory authority to issue a fine, periodic penalty payment or administrative coercion. A lawyer may also be present during the inspection of the regulatory authority. Furthermore, if a regulatory authority has signaled that it is going to investigate, a lawyer can advise what authorizations the authority has, how far the obligation to cooperate extends and explain the right to remain silent and when this right can be invoked during the investigation. You read more here about the Dutch penalty procedure.

Please contact our public law team on Dutch gambling law issues.