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Dutch regulator issues penalty warning to Casbit over unlicensed gambling


Dutch gambling regulator Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) has warned Casbit Group it could face weekly penalties if it does not cease operating unlicensed online gambling in the country.

According to KSA, Casbit has been offering online gambling without a licence in the country. Casbit is active in the Netherlands via its website.

KSA said it has issued several warnings to Casbit about its activity, saying that it could issue a penalty. Casbit responded by making its website inaccessible for Dutch players.

However, upon re-inspection, the regulator found players in the Netherlands were still able to access the website. As such, the KSA has moved ahead with a penalty order. This will be active if Casbit fails to cease operations in the country.

Casbit fine could reach €840,000

Therefore, Casbit will have to pay a penalty of €280,000 (£239,002/$299,156) each week that it is still active in the Netherlands. This penalty can reach a maximum of €840,000, or up to three weeks of illegal activity. 

“Strict rules and regulations apply to offering games of chance with a permit,” KSA said. “These are aimed at providing a safe legal offer, where players are assured of fair play and are protected against gambling addiction. 

“Offering illegal games of chance undermines that system and the safety of the player. As such, the KSA therefore strictly enforces this.”

Clamping down on illegal gambling activity

Casbit is the latest operator to feel the wrath of KSA over unlicensed online operations in the Netherlands. 

In March, the regulator issued its largest ever fine of €19.6m to Gammix Limited for offering games without a licence.

In June 2022, Gammix was ordered to leave the market or risk paying €1.4m in weekly fines. Then, the following March, KSA ordered Gammix to pay €4.4m for not complying with an order to stop operating in the Netherlands.

This latest fine relates to these two previous orders. The KSA note Gammix “has not taken any measures to ban players from the Netherlands”.

Regulatory action has not been limited to operators. This week, KSA instructed hosting provider DigitalOcean to cease offering services to illegal affiliate sites.

KSA issued a binding order following an investigation that unfolded throughout 2023. Such action is usually given in cases where an infringement has occurred, but a sanction not yet deemed appropriate.

Dutch gambling market set for growth

Against this backdrop of regulatory action, there is more positive news for the legal Dutch market. 

This week, KSA published its bi-annual gambling report, offering a comprehensive overview of the market. Headline figures include that for 2023, gross gaming revenue climbed 28% to €1.39bn.

Total player accounts climbed from 970,000 in December 2022 to 1.1 million in December 2023. The report estimates that 726,000 players were active with legal providers. This means approximately 5% of the adult population were active gamblers in H2 of 2023. 

Looking forward, H2 Gambling Capital, estimates growth in the Netherlands will be fixed at approximately 8% over the next five years. 

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