The Dutch Gaming Authority, the Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), has issued fines to Curaçao-based Equinox Dynamic and Domiseda and Partners from Slovakia after finding they were operating illegally in the country. The entities were ordered to pay €900,000 ($966,201) each for offering online games of chance in the Netherlands without the necessary licenses.
The breaches were found on Orientxpresscasino.com, with the regulator saying Equinox and Domiseda acted as providers for the website despite not holding a license as required by laws set out in the country’s Betting and Gaming Act.
Users were able to play a range of online casino games, make deposits and withdrawals using Dutch payment methods, and set the language to Dutch, while the site itself had an IP address in the Netherlands, the watchdog noted.
In response, Equinox said it had taken action to block players from the Netherlands from playing on or accessing the site to ensure it was operating in line with Dutch law. However, the regulator opted to proceed with a fine after saying the website had already breached national law by offering online gambling without a license.
KSA also noted several aggravating circumstances with the case in that there were no safety measures for customers accessing the site. This included a lack of age verification, meaning underage players could potentially access online gambling.
"A licensed provider of online games of chance incurs costs for applying for and maintaining a license that illegal providers of online games of chance do not have to incur," KSA said.
"In addition, illegal providers do not pay any tax in the Netherlands and are not restricted in the conduct of their business by the strict rules of the Betting and Gaming Act and the associated licensing regulations," pointed out the regulator. "This allows illegal providers to offer games of chance that are prohibited for license holders or offer higher prices and bonuses."
KSA chairman René Jansen added: "The objective is to create a safe environment for people who want to gamble online. This includes taking strict action against illegal providers."