Kansspelautoriteit Taking New Approach with Unlicensed Operators
Kansspelautoriteit is taking a stricter approach to unlicensed operators offering services to Dutch customers.
In many regions around the world, gambling is offered online in a variety of ways, from casino gaming to poker, lottery, and sports betting. For operators to provide services in a given region, they must be approved by a gambling regulator. While this is the law, there are unlicensed operators that still cater to players in regions where they are not licensed. This can spell trouble for consumers, with many players losing money or having their personal information in an unsecure site. In the Netherlands, gambling regulators have decided to take stricter measures to fight against unlicensed operators.
Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) has decided to monitor 25 unlicensed operators that are serving players in the Netherlands. A new enforcement approach has started now that the Netherlands Gambling Authority has implemented the KOA Regime, bringing online gambling into a regulated sector.
When November began, the KSA told the public that its KOA enforcement policy was modified to increase the penalties that unlicensed operators face when serving Dutch consumers. To fully implement the KOA Regime, the KSA will now take more action against those who break the rules.
The regulator will fine unlicensed operators 4% on activities that take place over a €15 million. A base penalty of €600,000 will be handed down to operators that have an unidentified turnover. The KSA did not report to the public who the 25 unlicensed operators are.
They also did not state if the operators are trying to gain approval for licensing in the Netherlands. Based on the new regulations, there is a cooling off period where a company can apply for licensing if they offered services in the region previously before the regulated market began.
When the KSA announced the new rules for the regulated market, some companies decided to go ahead and comply with orders, ceasing services to players in the Netherlands. This is a smart move as it allows the companies to apply for licensing and remain in the good graces of regulators.
Companies like Betsson, Kindred, Entain, and LeoVegas all stopped services to the Netherlands. These companies are tier-1 operators in Europe that have continued to follow protocols despite not securing a license when the market opened.
Those who failed to gain licensing but removed services from the country took a huge hit when it came to revenues. Entain reported that its European brands would lose 5 million a month EBITDA and the Kindred Group reported an even larger monthly EBITDA loss of €12 million.
Both of these companies feel they will be able to obtain licensing by next year. The next window for licensing will end in April of next year.
Before the regulated market launched, KSA announced that only 10 operators had passed the regulators requirements for licensing. This number was much lower than the 28 licenses that the regulator had announced it planned to give out.
The KSA pointed out that its tough policy enforcement has been put in place to ensure that the regulated market is safe and secure. The main goal is to ensure that players are able to enjoy casino games only with licensed providers.
The legal change was made to move players from illegal providers to legal ones. This way, players will be able to take part in casino games in an environment where games are reliable and fair, and the correct amount of attention is placed on gambling addiction.
It will be interesting to see how many operators gain licensing during the next phase of approvals and if any are in the group that previously tried and cut off services in anticipation of being approved.