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Fines from the Kansspelautoriteit

George Miller

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Dutch regulator to expose operators that refuse to pay fines
Photo Source: linkedin.com
Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

A few weeks ago we wrote about the evolution of the UK Gambling Comission. Now, let’s take a look at the Netherlands. So far, 2019 has been a lucrative year for the ‘Kansspelautoriteit’, the Dutch gaming authority. All fines were raised, and 11 casinos received such a fine. In 2018, a total of 1.9 million euros was collected in fines; this year, more than 3.5 million has been collected to date. It seems that the Dutch gaming authority is cleaning house before the legalization of online gaming takes off in January 2021. By the time the newly adopted gambling law is in effect, only casinos and gaming websites with a license from the Kansspelautoriteit can offer their services to Dutch citizens. This is good news for the Dutch: unreliable providers of online games are cracked down on and will later be excluded from the market altogether.

To maximize its effectiveness, the Kansspelautoriteit prioritizes websites that overtly offer their services to Dutch players. According to its own rules, the gaming authority watches for availability to Dutch players, offering the Dutch language on the website or appealing to Dutch players through imagery, and including the exclusively Dutch payment option iDeal. Although many other websites are still accessible to Dutch players, those websites that do not overtly cater to the Dutch market are not the priority for the Kansspelautoriteit.

Which online casinos were fined in 2019?

So far, 9 casinos were fined in 2019. The first fine this year came in February. Exinvest and 1X Corp were fined 400,000 euros. The gambling sites from these enterprises could be accessed from Dutch IP addresses, they offered the payment service iDeal, and used Dutch language on their websites. After a thorough research, it turned out these providers offered 83 other online casinos.

Well-known Casumo was fined in April. This provider, too, was available from Dutch IP addresses and offered the iDeal payment method. The terms and conditions explained that players from the Netherlands could not create a player account, which in practice proved to pose no problems at all. Casumo was fined 310,000 euros.

Casino.com also received a fine in April: this provider had to pay 200,000 euros for offering online games to the Dutch market. Because the company was fined before, the initial fine was doubled. Casino.com was also fined 50,000 euros for charging excessive administrative fees for inactive players. The total amount charged was 450,000 euros.

In June, the Kansspelautoriteit assessed provider Simbat and promotor Spinity. Simbat received a 270,000 euro fine for offering online gambling games. Spinity didn’t offer any such games itself, but was fined 100,000 euros for promoting these games.

BWin followed in August. Their fine totaled 350,000 euros and was based on offering online gambling opportunities to Dutch players, depositing money into a player account using iDeal, and offering live betting options.

The ‘award’ for highest fine goes to Unibet. Their website offered Dutch players the opportunity to place live sports bets and casino games. This provider, too, offered the iDeal payment method, and their customer support through live chat had a Dutch language option. The total fine was 470,000 euros.

The second to last fine to date went to The Stars Group, known for the online poker lobby Pokerstars. The Kansspelautoriteit fined TSG 400,000 euros for offering online games for real money. Although poker is seen as a game of skill rather than a game of chance, Dutch law does not make this distinction. The highest judicial power in the Netherlands ruled poker a game of chance in 1998.

In October, the Kansspelautoriteit announced fines for Royal Panda and LeoVegas. Both of these websites were available from Dutch IP addresses and offered the iDeal payment option. Royal Panda was fined 400,000 euros, whereas LeoVegas got off with a ‘mere’ 350,000 euros.

Raising the fines

To strengthen the efforts of the Kansspelautoriteit, fines were raised to further deter websites from offering their games to the Dutch market. The base payment went up from 150,000 euros to 200,000 euros. The final fine depends on a number of circumstances:

  • The number of active websites
  • The number of available games
  • The presence of live betting options
  • The amount in the jackpot or prize pool
  • How much can be deposited or bet
  • The size of a welcome bonus or other promotions and the presence of a VIP program
  • Charging administrative fees to inactive players
  • Providing false information to players about gambling licenses

When a casino offers live betting options (betting while a match is going on), the base fine is always raised by 75,000 euros. The same amount applies to providing false information about gambling licenses and charging administrative fees for inactive players. The current fine policy can be viewed here (Dutch).

The Kansspelautoriteit announced more measures going forward; the entire fining policy is projected to be overhauled.

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Industry News

EGBA Demands pan-European Consumer Rights for iGaming

Niji Narayan

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EGBA Demands pan-European Consumer Rights for iGaming
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The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) has demanded for the introduction of a specific single set of consumer rights for Europe’s iGaming sector.

The European Commission (EC) will publish its new consumer strategy later this year. The EGBA wants the EC to incorporate its demand into the new strategy. It is now consulting stakeholders for developing a single pan-European set of consumer rights.

EGBA has sent a letter to EC with the following excerpts:

In its submission to the EC, it says: “The lack of regulatory consistency jeopardises online players’ safety, as it exposes them to the unregulated and unsafe websites of the black market, which profits to the detriment of the European economy.

“EGBA advocates sector-specific EU regulation for consumer and minor protection.

“There are simple rules that can be proposed, to ensure that online players, minors and players who are at risk are equally protected.

“For example, self-excluded players could benefit from a European self-exclusion register, that would prohibit access to any regulated website of the EU.

“To bridge the gap stemming from inconsistent rules on protecting minors from gambling marketing, EGBA has recently published a European code of conduct to establish minimum requirements on responsible advertising.

“Greater regulatory cooperation between member states can also facilitate the dialogue to achieve harmonisation.

“To this end EGBA regrets the dissolvement of the European expert group for online gambling, as national gambling regulators are deprived from the opportunity to meet and exchange in the framework of a common platform.”

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Industry News

Jumpman Gaming Integrates Slingo Originals Content

Niji Narayan

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Jumpman Gaming Integrates Slingo Originals Content
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Gaming Realms plc has announced that its Slingo Originals content is live with Jumpman Gaming platform.

Jumpman Gaming is a UK-based B2B casino networks offering about 600 fun, casual and affordable slots and bespoke bingo games.

Slingo Originals content will now also be distributed via SG Digital’s Opening Gaming System platform to Jumpman’s white label partners.

Michael Buckley, Executive Chairman of Gaming Realms, said: “We’re delighted that through our partnership with Scientific Games we have been able to launch our Slingo Originals content with Jumpman, a key innovator in the iGaming industry operating an extensive network of partner sites.

“The partnership is testament to the popularity of the Slingo content range and we look forward tocontinuing to innovate, launching market-leading content to new audiences.”

Kris Kukula, MD of Jumpman Gaming, remarked: “We’re delighted to welcome the Slingo content to our network. Given its success, both in the UK and globally, we believe it will be a perfect fit to expand our customer and entertainment experience.”

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Australia

Australian Study: Loot Box Buyers More Susceptible To Problem

Niji Narayan

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Australian Study: Loot Box Buyers More Susceptible To Problem
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Researchers in Experimental Gambling Research Laboratory (EGRL) at CQUniversity Australia has found that purchase of loot boxes make players more prone to real-life gambling problems. According to the study, players who purchase loot boxes are not only more likely to gamble in real life but more likely to wager for large amounts as well.

The study was funded by the NSW Government Responsible Gambling Fund. It had a sample size of 1,954 NSW residents who age ranged from 12 to 24. Among the respondents, 22.3% admitted to have gambling problems. The high percentage of people with gambling problems could be due to the fact that sample was chosen among people who engage with gambling and video games.

The study also found that 62% of the most popular video games have loot boxes of some form. In the study, a large majority of respondents (93.2%) had played at least one of these games in the last 12 months and 69.4% had opened a loot box from these games in the same period, However, only 32.9% of the respondents have actually bought the loot boxes.

Professor Matthew Rockloff, the lead author of the study, said: “[Loot boxes] are a growing concern because of the risk and reward elements associated with them that is similar to gambling and there are currently no age limits to play these games. For both young adults and adolescents, there was a strong association between current loot box use and gambling risk. Consequently, although median expenditure on loot boxes is modest, there is evidence that these products are associated with harmful gambling involvement.”

The study urges for preventative measures to prevent the exposure of adolescents to loot boxes.

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