KSA Cracks Down on Goldwin for Illegal Offerings

A city skyline at dawn.

The regulator of the gambling industry in the Netherlands, the Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), has been on a constant crusade to end illegal and unfair gambling practices in the country. The regulator has been especially active in 2023, fining illegal operators and launching new initiatives to curb problematic gambling. In the latest development, it has cracked down on Malta-based gambling provider Goldwin. The regulator is responsible for implementing the Dutch gambling policy and has recently announced that it has found Goldwin in violation of the Dutch laws. The Malta-based company was found in breach of the Dutch Gambling Act (WOK) by offering online games of chance to Dutch citizens without a valid license to do so. The fine imposed on Goldwin amounts to a whopping €6.7 million.

A city skyline at dawn.

Dutch gambling regulator, KSA, slaps fines on Malta-based operators Goldwin and MKC. ©Frédéric Paulussen/Unsplash

The Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) is the regulator of the gambling industry in the Netherlands. It is an independent administrative body that implements Dutch gambling policy by order of the Minister for Legal Protection. The KSA regulates Dutch gambling and betting activity, issues licenses, and enforces key gaming acts and regulations. Its mission is to create a world where gambling services are reliable, operators are transparent, and players are protected. The KSA has five statutory duties, which are to regulate the gambling market by issuing licenses to gambling operators, take action against illegal activities, promote addiction prevention, supervise license holders, and advise the Minister for Legal Protection on gambling policy. The KSA also engages in various forms of international collaboration and strives to ensure safe (online) gambling to minimize the risks when gambling. The KSA has a long list of rules and guidelines that anyone who wishes to offer betting or gaming services in the Netherlands needs to follow. The KSA is currently implementing the regulatory framework for online gaming operators planning to operate in the Netherlands.

The KSA has announced that law enforcement against illegal online providers will be tougher, and a package of enforcement measures must ensure that players opt for legal online gambling as of October 1, 2021. The regulator also banned the untargeted advertisement of games of chance earlier this year and has kept a close eye on operators to ensure the ban is upheld. Several gaming operators who were in violation of KSA’s laws have received warnings and fines from the regulator. The KSA is changing its priority and penalty policy regarding illegal gaming providers. The Dutch regulator has issued over €26.0m in financial penalties to several companies, including LCS, N1 Interactive, Videoslots, BetPoint Group, Probe Investments, and Fairload Limited, for offering online games of chance to players in the Netherlands without a license.

The latest company under the KSA’s crosshairs is Goldwin. The Malta-based gambling company was found to have violated the Dutch Betting and Gaming Act by offering online games of chance to Dutch consumers without a valid license. The KSA has been cracking down on illegal gambling in the Netherlands, and this fine is part of its ongoing efforts to protect consumers and prevent illegal activities in the industry. The regulator has the power to impose fines, revoke licenses, and even prosecute operators who violate the law. Goldwin was found offering online games of chance in the Netherlands without holding a license to do so. This violates Article 1, paragraph 1 of the Dutch Betting and Gaming Act (WOK). The Dutch regulator began its investigation in December 2022 and found that Dutch players could access a website called westcasino.com, which is operated by Goldwin. On January 23, KSA announced it intended to fine Goldwin if westcasino.com remained accessible to the Dutch public. The website was investigated again in March, and the regulator found no change. The order to fine Goldwin was issued in April, and the amount was calculated based on its estimated Dutch turnover, culminating in a €6.7 million fine on the operator. A cease and desist order has also been issued against Goldwin’s westcasino.com.

Rene Jansen, chairman of the KSA stated,

“We can often quickly put a stop to illegal supply with an order subject to a penalty. This does not mean that previously committed illegal activities disappear from view: they can still be punished.”

MKC also fined by KSA on the same day

In KSA’s bid to clean up online gambling in the country, it has been on a warpath against illegal and unethical gambling. The regulator has issued back-to-back fines on two operators on the same day. Another Matlta-based entity, MKC Limited, was also under fire from the Dutch regulator for a similar violation as Goldwin. MKC was also found to be offering online games of chance to Dutch players via one of its websites, which did not hold a license to operate in the Netherlands. The website in question, Betworld247, could be accessed by Dutch players. They could create an account with a Dutch address on Betworld247 and play online games of chance.

The Dutch regulator found that the operator had not taken any added technical measures to prevent Dutch participants from accessing the website, like an IP block. According to the WOK, operators must have a valid Dutch license to offer online games of chance to the Dutch public. An aggravating factor was that the age of the Dutch visitors to MKC’s betworld247 website was not verifiable. It is illegal to offer games of chance to minors in the Netherlands, according to WOK. This caused an increase in the amount of penalty imposed on MKC. As a result of these breaches, KSA slapped MKC Limited with a fine of €900,000. KSA’s investigation into the operator began in May 2022, and a cease and desist order was issued to MKC in August last year. MKC also lost its Maltese license in July this year after the Maltese Gaming Authority (MGA) found several breaches of its gambling laws and a failure to meet the financial obligations to the regulator.

KSA slapped LCS Limited with a hefty fine

KSA is committed to curbing all illegal gambling activity in the country and has been taking serious action against all operators found violating its laws. In one such move, another Malta-based gambling operator was slapped with a heavy fine by the Dutch regulator recently. LCS Limited was found to have committed a similar offense as Goldwin and MKC Limited. It violated the WOK by offering online games of chance to players in the Netherlands without the appropriate permissions. The operator has been in a long-drawn legal battle with the Dutch regulator since August 2022. This culminated in KSA slapping a €2 million fine on LCS Limited.

In August 2022, KSA found that the operator had been offering online games of chance in the Netherlands via an unauthorized and unlicensed website named Sonofslots. A fine of €165,000 and a cease and desist order were issued to the operator, which the company challenged. The battle culminated in October 2023 with the fine being calculated based on LCS’ turnover in the Dutch market during the time it was operational in the country. LCS Limited is unhappy with the decision and has vowed to challenge the fine.

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Author: Ralph Moore