the Netherlands – Highest fine by KSA

Today, the Dutch Gambling Authority (Kansspelautoriteit or “KSA”) announced it has imposed a fine of EUR 470,000 on Trannel International Limited This is the highest fine ever imposed to a single entity by the KSA up until now. The KSA decided that the operator offers online gambling targeted at the Dutch market through its .eu website. The offering included inter alia online casino games and sports betting.

In its decision, the KSA stated that the operator violated the rules at least in the second half of 2018. More in particular, the following circumstances were taken into account by the KSA (some of which are included in the KSA’s prioritization criteria as listed here):

  1. the website was accessible from a Dutch IP-address (i.e. no geo-blocking);
  2. advertisements were available in the Dutch language;
  3. it was possible to perform payments through iDeal (a Dutch payment platform); and
  4. customer service was available in Dutch (by telephone and in the webchat-service).

Furthermore, the terms and conditions listed several jurisdictions of which inhabitants were excluded from play. The Netherlands was not included on such list. In its decision, the KSA also emphasizes that the prioritization criteria are not intended to make it possible to offer remote gambling. The criteria only serve to prioritise the KSA’s enforcement actions. The KSA emphasizes the fact that offering remote gambling is and remains illegal at all times and that no operator can tailor its offering to the prioritization criteria with resulting into avoiding enforcement by the KSA.

Remarkably, the KSA increased the fine from the EUR 420,000 base amount with EUR 50,000 to the final amount of EUR 470,000 as a consequence of the use of an ‘inactivity fee’. This ‘inactivity fee’ entailed that for inactive players, a monthly fee of EUR 5 was deducted from a players account. The KSA explains that this is an unacceptable disadvantage for consumers, as it entails losing money without receiving reasonable performance of services in exchange.

The decision can be accessed in Dutch here. The decision can be appealed within six weeks after the date of the decision (30 July 2019).

Sharif Ibrahim and Richard van Schaik