Shark77, a gambling company licensed in Malta, was fined by the Dutch gambling regulator Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) for operating in the Netherlands without the necessary license.
Shark77, which is based in Malta as well, was penalized €900,000 (£789,089/$975,368) for offering games of chance in the country. If the operator lacks the necessary approval, it is considered illegal under the Betting and Gaming Act.
Shark77 was first the subject of a KSA investigation in December 2021. Subsequent investigations in January and February of last year revealed that the operator was providing both sports betting and online casino games on its 18bet.com website.
According to the authority, there are currently no technical barriers preventing Dutch players from accessing these products. The Netherlands was available as a country choice when registering for an account, and a Dutch IP was used to access the website.
Following contact from KSA, Shark77 responded by denying that it had targeted the Dutch market on purpose. It also said that it was operating in compliance with the terms of the license it had received from the Malta Gaming Authority and urged KSA not to impose a fine.
Shark77, according to KSA, had broken Dutch law by providing games, and even though it had a license in Malta, this was insufficient for it to permit Dutch clients to access its gaming. As a result, Shark77 was operating illegally in the country.
KSA said that users could make deposits and withdrawals straight from Dutch bank accounts while reiterating the lack of measures in place to prevent Dutch gamers from accessing the website.
As a result, KSA claimed Shark77's counterarguments were unconvincing and that there was no justification for waiving a fine. The operator was mandated to pay the whole €900,000 by the KSA.
"A licensed provider of online games of chance has costs that illegal providers of online games of chance do not have to incur. 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," according to KSA.
"This allows illegal providers to offer a different offer, for example by offering games of chance that are prohibited for licence holders."
René Jansen, head of the KSA, continued, "These providers can thus have an attractive effect on players and jeopardise the channelling to the legal offer. We consider this serious and highly undesirable."
"Dutch players deserve the good protection of providers with a licence from the Gaming Authority."
By fLEXI tEAM