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In a no-nonsense signal that their new liberalised iGaming culture is not to be contaminated, Holland’s national betting authority, the De Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), has tripled the minimum fine against illegal operators from €200,000 to €600,000.
The move comes just days before the country’s long-awaited, newly-liberalised online gaming regime goes live on October 1.
Holland’s new Remote Gambling Act–with its tough player protections, safe gambling protocols and provisions against money-laundering, amongst a host of other progressive provisions—was finally passed into law this April, after years of legal delay.
Crucially, the regulated Dutch market has also been opened up under a new licencing system, which promises to supercharge the scale and value of the nation’s iGaming industry.
It’s believed that some 35 new operators are now poised to roll the online dice.
But lest the message of tough love is lost in the market excitement, the KSA is now also set to impose stricter penalties on illegal operators.
Following a call by the Minister of Legal Protection Sander Dekker to “intensify enforcement”, the minimum basic fine of €200,000 (£171,150/US$234,700) for illegal operations has been tripled to €600,000 (£513,450/US$704,150) or four per cent of turnover – whichever is greater.
And if illicit operations are deemed to have been targeted at minors, or addiction controls are absent, the fines can be even greater.
“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,” said KSA Chair René Jansen.
“[We are in] a new situation,” said Jansen. “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. The intent of the law is to channel players from illegal to legal providers.”
Earlier this year the KSA imposed a €500,000 fine (£427,880/US$586,800) on Malta-based operator N1 Interactive for illegally offering gambling to Dutch players via its Betchan website, proving that the new sanctions have real bite.