Royal Panda, LeoVegas Get Hefty Fines by Dutch Gambling Watchdog
The Dutch government may have passed a bill authorizing international online gambling companies to provide their services on the territory of the Netherlands, but the nation’s new gambling regime is still at least a year away from being implemented.
This means that the Dutch Gaming Authority, Kansspelautoriteit, has at least a year to slap hefty fine on companies taking advantage of the current loopholes in the Dutch gambling law and targeting local gamblers.
The latest companies to be penalized by the Dutch gambling watchdog were Royal Panda Limited and LeoVegas Gaming plc, representing the Royal Panda and LeoVegas online gaming brands, respectively.
It is important to note that both businesses are owned by Malta-headquartered and Sweden-listed online gambling group LeoVegas. The company has been operating its flagship LeoVegas brand since its inception in 2011 and purchased the Royal Panda brand in 2017 in a deal valued at around €60 million.
Royal Panda and LeoVegas’ Dutch Transgressions
During a review into the activities of both brands in late 2018 and early 2019, Kansspelautoriteit discovered that they both could be acessed from within the Netherlands and that Dutch customers were able to wager money on games and other products offered by them.
To punish the trespassers, the regulatory body slapped Royal Panda with a €400,000 fine and its sister operation LeoVegas with a €350,000 fine.
Kansspelautoriteit said today in a statement on its official website that both brands kept on targeting Dutch customers, even though they were not authorized to do so. For example, the regulator pointed out, their websites could be accessed with a Dutch IP address. In addition, both sites listed locally popular iDEAL as an available payment method for gamblers to use to move funds.
Dutch customers of Royal Panda and LeoVegas were able to engage in a number of gambling activities, including online slots, table games, and sports betting. These all are currently prohibited from being provided by foreign companies under the Netherlands’ existing gambling laws and rules.
Other Recent Fines
A number of operators have fallen victims of Kansspelautoriteit’s actions over the past several years. Prior Royal Panda and LeoVegas, the regulator hit another major operator with a six-figure fine.
The gambling authority announced late last month that it had fined TSG Interactive Gaming Europe Limited, a subsidiary of Canadian gambling giant The Stars Group, for targeting Dutch customers with its online poker product via the pokerstars.eu website. Similarly to Royal Panda, that company too was imposed a €400,000 fine for running afoul of the Netherlands current regulatory regime.
Kansspelautoriteit said that the penalty was prompted by an investigation it conducted in the second half of 2018 to discover that the poker website accepted Netherlands-based players. The regulator further noted that PokerStars’ .eu website did not list the Netherlands as a restricted territory and featured iDEAL as an available payment option. The website also featured a contact form in Dutch and mentioned two local organizations that were known to be working with problem gamblers and gambling addicts.
Source: Boetes van 4 en 3,5 ton voor illegaal aanbieden online kansspelen, Kansspelautoriteit.nl
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