The Netherlands: New fines for providing remote gambling services and the promotion thereof

On 24 June, The Netherlands Gambling Authority (Kansspelautoriteit or “KSA“) announced that it imposed fines of EUR 270,000 on Simbat Entertainment Systems Limited for providing remote gambling services (online gambling/games of chance) via at least eleven different websites, targeted at Dutch players. The KSA considered Spinity Limited as the promotional agent of Simbat and the KSA has also imposed a fine of EUR 100,000 on Spinity for promoting (advertising) Simbat’s remote gambling services.

The KSA took the official decision to impose these fines already in July 2017; both parties appealed this decision (and the publication thereof) at the administrative division of the The Hague Court. Pending the appeal, publication of the decision was postponed. Both appeals were dismissed by the administrative division on 6 June 2019, leading to publication of the decision earlier this week.

The offering (and advertising) of remote gambling is currently illegal in the Netherlands. However, as mentioned in our earlier posts, the legalization of online gambling in the Netherlands is currently an ongoing process with secondary legislation (inter alia including criteria for licensing) now under development. The current prognosis is that applications for obtaining a remote gambling licence will be possible as of 1 July 2020, with the first fully licensed operator up and running at the earliest as of 1 January 2021. Currently, 183 parties have expressed their interest in obtaining a licence. We do stress that the dates of 1 July 2020 and 1 January 2021 are the current prognosis and could be very well subject to change.

Offering remote gambling services without a licence will remain illegal in any case. We will keep you updated of the developments on this blog.

Sharif Ibrahim and Richard van Schaik