Leo Vegas and Royal Panda Fined by Netherlands Gambling Authority

Leo Vegas and Royal Panda penalised for offering unlicensed gambling.

Stacks of money

Bookies face fines © Pixabay.

Flagship brand Leo Vegas and subsidiary operator Royal Panda have been ordered to pay fines totalling €750,000 for offering unlicensed gambling. The Netherlands Gambling Authority found the two operators had offered gambling products to Dutch players.

Leo Vegas was ordered to pay €350,000 and Royal Panda €400,000 by KSA for offering services from August 2018 and January 2019 after investigators discovered that Dutch residents could access the online gambling sites. The regulator also found that Dutch e-commerce payment system iDEAL was available at both operators, a payment method that needs a Dutch bank account to use.

As part of the investigation, the regulator contacted LeoVegas and requested to speak to a Dutch-speaking customer service agent; one was provided to deal with the request. The investigator repeated the same process at Royal Panda who also helped the caller in Dutch.

Under Dutch law, the Netherlands Gambling Authority has the powers to sanction online gambling sites that are deemed to be targeting Dutch players. The Dutch Remote Gaming Act, which was passed into law this year, sets out the criteria for proving that operators are intentionally inticing Dutch players. The criteria include operating a betting site with a Dutch IP address, using imagery in promotional materials or on the website that is Dutch related such as windmills or tulips or offering a Dutch language option on the site. A recent addition to the criteria was an operator offering iDEAL as a payment method option.

The Remote Gaming Bill, which came into law in February, gives the regulator the ability to bar operators from obtaining a new Dutch gaming license for two years after the offence of targeting the Dutch market occurred.

Leo Vegas and Royal Panda are the latest operators to be penalised by the Netherlands Gambling Authority who have been aggressively targeting operators in the last six month. Kindred, Betsson, Bwin and GiG all falling foul of the regulator and suffering financial penalties.

The Stars group received a €400,000 fine under the “prioritisation criteria” rules when investigators found that Pokerstars.eu could be accessed from the Netherlands. The website also allowed iDEAL to be used. Regulators also highlighted that there was a Dutch option on both the website and in the contact form provided for customer queries. The Stars Group argued that the language option was intended for use by Dutch-speaking customers in other countries. However this argument was dismissed by the regulator.

Leo Vegas has stated they are considering an appeal once they have received confirmation from the KSA of the licence application process to obtain a Dutch licence.

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