Dutch gambling regulator Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) has moved to increase its fines for unlicensed online gambling activities in the country, after saying the previous penalties were not “terrifying” enough.
Operators that breach national regulations could now face a starting fine of €200,000 (£171,200/$227,600), up from the previous penalty of €150,000.
KSA said this amount will be increased or decreased depending on the specific violation, taking into account factors such as the number of sites that are being run by the operator, the amount of games offered, as well as the level of prizes and bonuses available to consumers.
In addition, KSA has set out increases of at least €75,000 for three breaches in particular: offering live betting, calculating costs for temporary inactive players and making misleading statements about permits and supervision.
The regulator said that it has been forced into making the changes due to regular rule breaches by gambling operators.
KSA chairman, René Jansen, said the increase in financial penalties will support the long-awaited regulation of online gambling in the country. Last month, the Dutch Senate passed the Remote Gaming Act, paving the way for the roll-out of igaming regulation.
“The fines we used were not terrifying enough,” Jansen said. “The Senate recently adopted the bill on remote games of chance, which makes it possible to apply for a licence in time for offering gambling via the internet.
“The intention of the law is to create an attractive legal online gaming offer, which makes it possible for consumers to play safely on a fair market.
“There is no room for illegal providers. That is why we intend to thoroughly review our penalties policy for the future. The updating of the fines policy is now only a first step.”
The Netherlands is expected to begin awarding online gaming licences from the middle of 2020, with operators required to develop comprehensive responsible gaming strategies to offer a high level of player protection. Licensees face a tax rate of 29.1% of gross revenue.
It is hoped regulation could help tackle illegal gambling problems in the country. In January, a report commissioned by Holland Casino suggested that the number of people gambling online illegally in the Netherlands had increased by 20% over the last two years.
In addition, KSA said it issued a record €1.7m in fines to operators that breached current regulations over the course of 2018. The regulator handed out a total of 23 sanctions over the course of the last year, including seven administrative penalties, 12 penalties and four charges under administrative coercion.