The Netherlands gambling regulator Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) has taken action against unregulated online casino gambling, slapping heavy fines on Royal Panda and its parent company LeoVegas
Royal Panda was fined just over €400,000 while LeoVegas was sanctioned to the tune of €350,000 with both companies criticised by the KSA in a strongly worded ruling for having illegally targeted online casino players in the Netherlands.
Online gambling is illegal in the Netherlands, although earlier this year, the Dutch Senate passed the long-delayed Remote Gambling Act, which provides for a regulated market beginning in January 2021, while new laws governing online gaming will be effective from July 1, 2020, along with licence conditions for operators given permission to access the Netherlands market.
But in the interim, the KSA has been taking strong enforcement action against operators targeting Netherlands players. In September, they handed out a €400,000 fine to Stars Group and a fine of $470,000 to Trannel International, part of the Kindred Group.
In its findings, the KSA said that Royal Panda and LeoVegas had been operating websites that could be accessed from a Netherlands IP address, and that accepted payments through the iDEAL system, which is used only within the Netherlands. Both operators were monitored during a five-month period between August 2018 and January 2019 and were found to be in breach of the rules, offering a full range of online slots, progressive jackpots, scratch cards and bingo to Netherlands players.
The fines will come as a blow to LeoVegas at the end of a week in which it had successfully appealed against a license decision by the Swedish regulator. It is also likely to significantly weaken LeoVegas’ chances of earning a license in the newly-regulated Netherlands market next year.