Rene Jansen KSA

KSA targets Shark77 with €900k fine for unlicensed gaming activity

The no-nonsense approach adopted by the Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), the Dutch Gaming Authority, is set to continue this year, as the regulator made its first enforcement action of 2023.

In a statement, the KSA revealed that an operator trading as Shark77 had been fined €900,000 for offering a ‘games of chance’ service without an approved licence.

This is a violation of the Netherlands’ Betting and Gaming Act (KOA Act), as unlicensed companies are not subject to the same taxation and player protection requirements as fully licensed firms.

René Jansen, KSA Chair, said: “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.”

Shark77 is licensed by the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA), and lists its HQ as being in the town of Floriana, operating URLs including CasinoWinNow, 18bet and SportEmpire.

The KSA asserted that the firm had been targeted due to the regulator’s remit of ensuring a safe legal offering in the Netherlands, guaranteeing fair play and protecting against gambling addiction.

Pursuing said objectives, the KSA has taken action against both licenced and non-licensed firms over the past year, having most recently warned state-backed Holland Casino for online advertising infringements.

Advertising and marketing in particular has been an area of focus for the regulator, such as cautioning operators to avoid a ‘bombardment of advertising’ during the World Cup.

Citing concerns among some politicians about an upsurge in marketing since the regulation of the Dutch market in October 2021, the KSA has warned licence holders that a political clampdown on gambling could ensue if self-regulation isn’t followed.

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