International operator 1xBet has been hit with a fine of €400,000 (£344,200) from Dutch gambling regulator Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) for targeting consumers without permission.
The fine pertains to the companies behind 1X Corp. N.V. in Curaçao, which runs the 1xBet.com website, and Cyprus-based Exinvest Limited and its xbet-1.com site.
In its ruling, the KSA found that both sites were easily accessed from the Netherlands, in addition to possessing a Dutch language feature, despite the fact that neither had received relevant approval from the regulator.
Both 1xBet.com and xbet-1.com allowed customers to make deposits via a Dutch-specific payment method, which is only available to those who possessed a Netherlands bank account.
KSA Chair, René Jansen, commented: “Online gambling in the Netherlands is illegal; under the current legal regime for companies it is not possible to get a licence for offering online games of chance.
“Consumers are not assured of a safe game on an honest market with illegal providers.”
The news follows the approval of the Remote Gaming Act in the country’s Senate after two and a half years of debate. It is expected that operators will be granted licences to operate from mid-2020, providing that sufficient social responsibility measures are put in place.
A recent survey carried out by the Holland Casino found that approximately 1.8m of Holland’s citizens had previously placed bets via illegal gambling sites.
The KSA has previously stated that, amid political pressure, it would not be approving ‘rogue operators applying for licences’. It is hoped by many that the new regulation, due to be put in place via a Royal Decree, will pave the way for igaming regulation in the country.