A touch of controversy for this week comes from the Netherlands where Kindred Group felt the cold sting of the law... albeit a bit outdated one.
Dutch Gambling Authority (Kansspelautoriteit) has enforced a EUR 470,000 fine against operator, Kindred. The reason? Accepting bets from Dutch players. The strange thing is, this decision is based on the 1964 Gambling Act.
New Law Yet to Come Into Effect
As a reminder, the Dutch Senate approved the brand-new Remote Gambling Bill in February 2019...
...and this one is the replacement for the said 1964 legislation and the piece of work that enables this country to open their online gambling market. However odd, this decision by KSA is quite in line with the ones made over the past 18 months.
The penalty was confirmed by Trannel International Ltd, a parent company of Kindred, which said that the notice about the EUR 470,000 fine was sent to them by the regulator. KSA's decision relates to investigations before the Remote Gambling Bill that was approved last year.
Constructive Dialogue a Priority
In operators' official statement, it is underlined that Kindred will cooperate with authorities and adhere to whatever decision is made. Their message reads:
“Kindred respects any requests from the Dutch regulator and is fully compliant with the rules set out by the Ministry of Justice and Security earlier this year. Kindred remains committed to having a constructive dialogue with the regulator and other stakeholders. While anticipating the establishment of a regulated online gambling market in 2021, Kindred aims to play a leading role in promoting Dutch gambling policy objectives, such as consumer protection.”
The message ends with the Group restating that it is still the company's ambition to reach the goal of generating 0% revenue from harmful gambling by 2023.
Online Market Coming Full Steam Ahead
As for the roll-out of Dutch online gambling market...
...everything is going as planned, which means that KSA is going to hand out Dutch remote licenses in the first quarter of 2021, while Kindred is remaining hopeful and committed to obtaining one of those themselves. They are seeking to obtain online sports betting and gambling permits.
Based on experiences from recently opened re-regulated markets such as the one in Sweden...
...points out that the key to successful and functioning market with strong consumer protection is a high level of channelization from the outset.
Kindred will, however, appeal against the KSA ruling. They require KSA to publish the policy rules on license application and requirements in order to instate more clarity on the application process as they wait on the secondary legislation from the Ministry of Justice and Security.
Marketing Under Scrutiny
In July, KSA took it upon themselves to prevent as many as 23 affiliate marketing sites from advertising online gambling.
Twenty of those twenty-three sites have been asked to withdraw their ads immediately. The remaining three did will remain under investigation until further evidence is gathered.
The statement by the regulator regarding this matter reads:
“Protecting consumers is an important objective of the KSA. Participants in games of chance from providers without a licence are not guaranteed a fair game. Nor is it possible to monitor the participation of vulnerable groups, such as young people.”
“Kindred Group penalised by the Netherlands Gambling Authority based on the 1964 Gambling Act”, Kindred Group Press Release, August 20, 2019.