Shark77 Handed €900k Fine by Dutch Gambling Authority
The Dutch gambling regulator Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) has handed a fine of €900,000 to Shark77, a Malta-licensed company, for offering its services in the Netherlands without the correct license.
Shark77 was fined for offering games of chance in Holland, which is illegal under the country’s Betting and Gaming Act without the appropriate license. The company first came under investigation by KSA in December 2021 and again in January and February 2022. It was found that the operator was offering Dutch customers both sports betting and casino games via its 18bet.com website.
The KSA said that Shark77 had not implemented any technical measures to prevent Dutch players from using the sites. Not only was the site accessible from Dutch IP addresses, but the Netherlands was also listed as a possible country when creating an account.
Shark77 denied that it was intentionally targeting the Dutch market and said it was offering games under the terms of the license it has from the Malta Gaming Authority and, as such, should not be fined.
However, KSA deemed that Shark77 was not following Dutch rules and said that an MGA license was not enough for it to allow Dutch players. KSA also highlighted that customers were able to deposit and withdraw directly from Dutch bank accounts.
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. This allows illegal providers to offer a different offer, for example, by offering games of chance that are prohibited for license holders.