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Dutch gambling regulators handed out record amount of fines in 2018

Are Dutch gambling regulators taking a page from their UK counterparts and seriously putting the heat on the international online gambling industry? The answer to that question is both yes and no.

In 2018, the he Netherlands’ Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) gaming regulatory body issued €1,709,800 ($1.93 million UDS) to gaming operators for gambling companies that “illegally” served Dutch customers. That figure represents exponential growth over the amount of fines issued in both 2016 and 2017. In that regard, they’re stepping up enforcement of existing gambling regulations, just like the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC).
Unfortunately, for the Dutch government anyways, the KSA is issuing fines to companies who aren’t licensed to do business in Holland. That makes collecting those fines almost impossible.

That’s a very different situation from what’s happening in the UK, where the UKGC is actually able to collect fines from gambling operators who run afoul of its regulations.

The companies to which the KSA has been issuing its fines are all international who not only aren’t licensed by Holland, but they generally tend to think that the Dutch have no business issuing those fines in the first place. Their argument is that under European Union laws, the Netherlands is creating unfair trade barriers. That is to say, the Dutch are preventing fellow EU members from participating in what is supposed to be an open trade environment. So collecting those fines could involve a whole lot more than a million dollars’ worth of legal expenses.
To complicate matters further, Dutch lawmakers will be debating a bill to actually open their gaming markets on February 5. Should that bill pass, those same gambling operators could be on the hook for those fines if they want to legally participate in the market they’re currently saying is closed off.