Astronomical fines by the Netherlands’ gambling regulator have reached a new high this week as LeoVegas and its renowned gaming brand Royal Panda received a $826,196.25 fine for offering games of chance in the territory without a license.
The country’s rigid Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) has reacted to operator’s breach of regulations regarding online gaming between August 2018 and January 2019, imposing two separate penalties in the range of $385,518 or $440,592 respectively.
After a short investigation, the regulator has also determined that both gambling brands accepted customers from Dutch IP addresses and processed financial transactions via iDEAL, e-commerce payment system with headquarters in the Netherlands, which is in direct violation of the Dutch law.
Abusive Operators on The Rise
In the previous months, the Dutch gambling regulator has handed out several retributions to online gaming operators who have breached the country’s igaming regulations. Recently, one of the busiest poker cardrooms on the Internet and a Toronto-listed company The Stars Group received a $450,000 fine for operating illegally within the country’s borders.
Now facing that same penalty is Royal Panda, a subsidiary which the Swedish mobile gaming company and provider of online casino and sports betting services acquired in 2017. According to the regulator’s report from June, Netherland’s regulated online gambling market could go live on January 1st, 2021. However, the government is now keen on preventing all “cowboy operators” from obtaining a license and might even postpone their entrance to the market for additional two years.
This decision is in line with recent events in Sweden, where LeoVegas’ appeal to receive a 5-year license instead of two has been granted. The Swedish Administrative Court has unanimously overruled Spelinspektionen’s arguments regarding the operator, such as social responsibility shortcomings, misleading adverts and withholding of funds.
A month earlier, the country’s regulator has also prevented 23 affiliate marketing sites from advertising online gambling, stating that consumer protection was severely violated. The ads have been withdrawn in the meantime, as KSA warned each company with a heavier financial sentence.
Spelinspektionen’s entire case against LeoVegas was based on the decisions by UKGC from April 2019 when LeoVegas received a £600,000 fine by the Commission itself for failing to comply with the requirements imposed on gambling activities within the UK.
The Swedish court overruled Spelinpektionen’s contentions explaining that “the UKGC penalty by itself wasn’t enough to justify the shorter license duration”. So far, it is not clear whether the country’s regulator will appeal the court ruling which could prevent LeoVegas from obtaining a share of both markets as Netherlands naughtiness serves as additional evidence to support its upright and previous decision.
Among the recently penalized online gaming operators is also the Kindred Group, who has been given a €470,000 penalty by KSA back in August.
“Dutch gambling regulator fines LeoVegas, Royal Panda €750k”, Steven Stradbrooke, calvinayre.com, October 10th, 2019.