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Netherlands Gambling Authority imposes €26m in fines on five operators ...and more!

Netherlands Gambling Authority extends investigation into implementation of duty-of-care provisions

The Dutch gambling Authority has extended its investigation into the implementation of prevailing duty-of-care provisions by licensed online gambling operators.

The investigation, which was launched in 2022, was triggered by reported incidents of excessive player losses and alleged failures of licensed operators to adequately intervene in a timely manner.

Preliminary findings include:

  • There are major differences in the way in which potentially excessive losses are handled by licensed operators.

  • A small part of the players are responsible for a large part of the losses.

  • There appear to be major differences in how and when operators intervene when they find indications of potentially harmful gambling behavior.

  • While licensed operators specifically monitor young adults, there is no universally greed upon best approach.

Because these preliminary results gave rise to follow-up questions, the investigation is now expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2023.

Netherlands Gambling Authority Chair René Jansen also dedicated a personal blog post to the topic of duty of care.

In related news, ZonMw, a research partner of the Dutch regulator regarding the topic of gambling addiction prevention, has launched a call for grants.

Researchers have until 5 May to register for their grant and get involved with the program.

Flutter suffered £30m revenue decrease in 2022 due to Dutch market exit

In a preliminary results announcement, Flutter, owner of the PokerStars, FanDuel, Betfair, and Tombola brands, reported a 27% year-on-year revenue increase. Total revenue for the 2022 fiscal year amounted to £7.69bn (€8.66bn), up from £6.04bn in the previous year.

However, the operator also revealed that its withdrawal from the Dutch market led to a £30m decline in revenues. Regulatory changes in Germany led to another £20m decline in revenues.

Earlier, the operator announced that it expected to acquire a Dutch remote license sometime in 2023.

Upcoming events

The following event(s) may be of interest to the GiH community.

  • The 2023 Gaming in Spain Conference, which will take place in Madrid, has been rescheduled from March 28 to May 18, 2023. Confirmed speakers include both the current and former leadership of Spain's national regulator DGOJ. Registration is now open!

Netherlands Gambling Authority imposes €26m in fines on five operators

The Netherlands Gambling Authority (KSA) has issued over €26m in fines to five operators after ruling that they offered online gambling in the country without a license.

The fines were imposed on N1 Interactive Limited (€12.6m), Videoslots Limited (€9.9m), Betpoint Group Limited (€1.8m), Probe Investments Limited (€1.1m), and Fairload Limited (€900,000).

N1 Interactive was handed the largest fine of €12.6m for a repeated violation, having first been sanctioned in July 2021.

Videoslots was fined €9.9m in part for illegally displaying the word marks of the Netherlands Gambling Authority and Loket Kansspel, the Netherlands’ national gambling helpline, on its website.

In response, Videoslots accused the Dutch regulator of illegally evading its restrictions on registering players based in the Netherlands by pretending to be in Germany instead. The operator also said that it had only briefly displayed the word marks of the KSA and Loket Kansspel due to a temporary technical error following its application for a Dutch remote license.

Ulle Skottling, Deputy CEO at Videoslots, said: “Videoslots does not target but restrict the Netherlands, so the Dutch Gaming Act does not apply to its services. No Dutch players were able to access our site during the disputed period and there was no violation as a result.”

“It is absurd that the KSA should fine us after gaining unauthorized access. It is simply not possible to protect fully against unauthorized access, and the KSA has no guidelines on what measures are sufficient.”

“Furthermore, there was no demonstrable damage, and the interests of Dutch consumers were never compromised at any point. The KSA calculated the fine based on several guesstimates. There is no basis for it and all sense of proportionality is missing.”

Other news

The European Court of Justice ruled that Belgium unlawfully sanctioned Dutch land-based slot arcades that advertised their services in the country. The ability to advertise may not be restricted to Belgian operators, the court found.

The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) has published new pan-European anti-money laundering guidelines for online gambling

Incoming UK Lottery license holder Allwyn has completed its acquisition of Camelot’s Lottery Solutions (LS) Group, which was previously owned by the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board.

Austrian operator Bet-at-home cited regulatory volatility in the German market as a contributing factor to its 85% fall in EBITDA in 2022.

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