According to an official announcement published on the website of the Netherlands Gaming Authority, Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), the board of directors decided to impose a fine on L.C.S Limited, an MGA-licensed gambling operator that owns and manages a total of 16 online domains. One of them, Sonofslots.com had acted in violation of the Dutch Betting and Gaming Act. Under the act, gambling operators are required to have local licensing to offer gambling services to Netherlands-based players.
Due to the lack of such a license, the gambling authority imposed a fine of €2.07 million on the company. This came as a result of a year-long debate.
The regulator initially reported that the website was accessible with a Dutch IP address. During registration, the operator did not require age verification. Furthermore, one could select “Netherlands” from the drop-down menu as a country of origin, along with the country code. Creating an account, logging in to it, depositing funds and participating in various games of chance were not obstructed in any way. Additionally, the Terms and Conditions section did not designate the country as an excluded one where the operator did not offer gambling services.
As per information available on Sonofslots.com, L.C.S Limited stated its licensing came from the Malta Gaming Authority, enabling the provision of games of chance in Malta. However, data from Similarweb, a Traffic Rank and Website Analysis company, indicated that the number of visits from the Netherlands was substantial. KSA’s announcement further stated that the website catered to the international gambling market and demonstrated orientation to players from the Netherlands as well.
The regulator launched its investigations back in March 2022. A follow-up in July of the same year indicated there was no change in the accessibility of the website. As a result, a penalty was issued in August, along with a cease and desist notice, demanding that the operator instantly discontinue its illegal activity.
René Jansen, chairman of the KSA, commented that the gambling authority continued to conduct re-checks of operators who had received notices to cease their business activity “to verify whether the supply has actually been and will continue to be discontinued.”
L.C.S Limited Opposes KSA’s Decision
L.C.S Limited decided to dispute the regulator’s decision, claiming it was not possible to access the website from the Netherlands. Furthermore, the company stated that the data obtained from Similarweb was not a true representation of the actual number of visits from the country. The company also saw KSA’s estimate of revenue as completely inaccurate.
In reply to the operator’s protests, KSA pointed out that it was not players who were banned from registering at an unauthorized site. Operators were those who were charged for offering illegal gambling services. The regulator further indicated that the data obtained from Similarweb was regarded as an objective and reliable third-party source.
Finally, the authority stated it could have adjusted the revenue estimate but the lack of verifiable information prevented it from doing so. According to KSA’s fine policy, the size of the penalty is based on 8% of the estimated turnover of the company in the Netherlands.