Netherlands Gambling Authority Hits William Hill with €300,000 Penalty

Netherlands Gambling Authority Hits William Hill with €300,000 Penalty ( Click to Enlarge )

William Hill has been hit with a six-figure penalty worth €300,000 by the Netherlands Gambling Authority (Kansspelautoriteit) after offering games within its borders without an appropriate license. This comes after a similar fines have been levied against other companies, and the situation is complicated by the fact online gambling of all types is illegal in the country.

A Complicated Legal Mess

Kansspelautoriteit, known as the KSA for short, is the gambling authority for the Netherlands. They have been in and out of the news for a while over fines issues against major online gambling companies for accepting Dutch players. Gambling giant William Hill is the latest to be subject to this type of fine to the tune of €300,000. However, this is a pretty complicated case with a few factors that make it stand out and be more important to players than it might initially seem.

For one, online gambling is illegal in the Netherlands, and there is no licensing process in place for them to allow companies to be able to legally offer their games over the Internet to Dutch players. This creates a situation where it’s hard for people to really get mad at companies, especially established ones with a great history like William Hill, who offer their games to players from the Netherlands.

Other Dutch Online Gambling Fines

An interesting component to this situation is that other companies, including some pretty big names, have been hit with fines of about the same amount over the same sort of thing. While this makes it clear that the KSA is not “picking on” William Hill, it does illustrate that this is a systemic issue that isn’t going to go away.

With that having been said, it’s also worth noting that not a single one of these companies have paid their fines yet, and there’s no indication that they’re planning to.

MRG, the parent company behind online casino giant Mr Green, was hit with a €300,000 penalty back in September of this year by the KSA. On top of that, the Betsson Group was hit with a €300,000 fine for providing access to games to Dutch players without a license, the same reason William Hill was given their penalty.

Every single one of these companies involved have either appealed the fine or have said that they are taking steps to appeal the fine, and it’s difficult to know how that will go as far as the conflict between national laws and EU laws can go. There have been some related court cases in the past, so it’s not entirely without precedent, but it’s an important case in the sense that it will probably end with a decision on whether or not Dutch players will have reliable access to established sites or not.

An Ill-fated Attempt to Regulate

Dutch politicians have been making half-hearted efforts to regulate the online portion of the industry. In fact, they have a framework for regulating the online sector that’s been put forth right now, but it hasn’t progressed hardly at all because of the high taxes it proposes. If the taxes are too high, which they are in this case at a proposed rate of 29 percent, then no operators can survive in that environment in a way that justifies the cost.

What further complicates this is that the Dutch market is a bit on the small side compared to other markets that either are regulated or that could soon become regulated, so they would need to provide as many incentives as possible for companies to become licensed there if they were to try to make such a framework happen. However, it’s clear that high taxes are the exact opposite of what would need to be done in that area. Unfortunately for Dutch players, many politicians don’t understand that 29 percent of €0 is still €0.