GVC Holdings’ Gambling operator’s famed Bwin brand was recently fined by Dutch regulators for providing services to the local market without getting the apprioprate permission from the local authorities.
On Wednesday, the Netherland’s regulatory body Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), released a statement that it had fined the Gibraltar-based Electra Works Ltd a sum of €350k. This is the subsidiary of GVC that is in control of Bwin.com.
The statement from KSA said that Bwin.com was offering a game of chance online and “a large selection of sports bets” to punters in Netherlands for “at least for a certain period of time” which was a violation of local rules.
The benchmark by which the KSA adjudged Bwin who they believed where behaving like cowboys is quite familiar to loyal readers. They were the same set of people that exposed other operators in the act.
To be specific, Bwin was guilty of using iDEAL, a popular Dutch online payment processor and they failed to geo-block customers from Netherlands.
The KSA started investigating Bwin.com as far back as August 2018. Their investigations revealed that Bwin.com denied access to users from the United States, Portugal and Poland. While they didn’t mention anything about users from Netherlands.
Undercover agents from the KSA created accounts with Bwin.com and deposited €20 using iDEAL. In January this year, the KSA carried out a review of Bwin and they discovered that no changes had occurred since their inspection the last time.
Bwin on the other hand made attempts to defend its presence in the local market by bringing up dialogue that occurred in 2012 with Dutch officials as regards the need for a ‘smooth transition’ to a locally regulated market.
According to Bwin, they said they were given the assurance that everything would be fine as long as the website did not offer services in Dutch language or if they take part in any Dutch facing ads or printed media campaigns.
The KSA disputed their claim with several recent publicly issued statements made by the regulators themselves and Dutch politicians. This is as regards their readiness to implement local gambling rules against operators that provide payment options or Dutch-language.
This is also in addition to operators that make use of the .nl and a domains or those that use images with the aim of evoking Dutch connections, including wooden shoes, windmills and stroopwafels.
The KSA set Bwin’s fine at €150k, which is the base penalty. Then they doubled it because of the number of banned products Bwin offers. The KSA added an extra €50,000 because of a policy by Bwin where they debit a fixed sum every month from accounts that are not in use for more than 365 days.
This policy according to the KSA is believed to be “unacceptable disadvantage for the consumer.” This is penalty is not the first but the second regulatory penalty that has being imposed on GVC.