KSA hits Gammix with record €19.6m penalty

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In June 2022, Gammix was ordered to leave the Dutch market or risk paying €1.4m in weekly fines. The following March, the KSA ordered Gammix to pay €4.4m for not complying with an order to stop operating in the Netherlands.

This latest fine is related to these two previous orders, with the KSA noting that Gammix “has not taken any measures to ban players from the Netherlands”.

In its latest decision, the KSA claimed that Gammix continues to offer illegal online gambling on a number of websites available to Dutch players. These include rantcasino.com, betoriginal.com and nordslot.com. The investigation into Gammix in March 2023 had concerned rantcasino.com and nordslot.com.

In its latest fine ruling, the KSA catalogued its monitoring of Gammix’s sites during periods throughout 2022. These were initial investigations and reinspections, which found that the sites continued to be available to those in the Netherlands.

Based on these, the KSA sent its report to Gammix, which responded in May 2023 arguing that there was no basis to issue a sanction.

Gammix’s Dutch turnover estimated at €302.7m

The KSA claimed that the sites continued to be accessible from a Dutch ISP and continually accepted account registrations from the Netherlands. This was evidenced by the sites offering the +31 Dutch area code and not stipulating the Netherlands as a prohibited country.

Despite Gammix branding the KSA’s report as “careless” and drawn up without due care, the KSA decided to issue the fine. It ruled that Gammix, as an operator, should have been aware of Dutch laws regarding online gambling, as well as the potential for enforcement from the KSA.

The KSA also named a number of aggravating circumstances that increased the total fine. These included inactivity costs and a lack of age verification.

Ultimately, Gammix’s €19.6m fine was judged to be 6.5% of its estimated Dutch turnover, which was calculated at €302.7m.

Gammix hits back against “outrageous and unsubstantiated” fine

Responding to the fine’s publication today (1 March), Gammix confirmed that it would contest the KSA’s decision. Phil Pearson, director of Gammix Limited, called the fine “outrageous and unsubstantiated” and vowed to continue fighting against it.

“The KSA has imposed upon our company a penalty that is both outrageous and unsubstantiated, said Pearson. “Now that we are able to talk openly about the case, we can confirm that we are fighting on all fronts as, to us, this is an extraordinary and unnecessarily heavy-handed action from a regulator that many already regarded as unapproachable.”

Pearson claimed that Gammix had communicated to the KSA that it had blocks in place, and had asked the KSA for further information, which Pearson said was ignored.

In a press release issued earlier today, Gammix claimed accounts used to access its sites during the investigation were created in Luxembourg, with deposits made via credit card.

Gammix added that such action violates the sites’ terms and conditions, specifically the provision of false information upon sign-up.

The operator also asserted that the penalty was calculated using figures from a proprietary web-traffic aggregation service and a multiplier of €240 per click. Gammix believes this would show turnover that doesn’t exist.

“When we received the first notice of a possible penalty, we reached out to them to say we have blocks in place,” Pearson highlights. “We also asked for any information they had that was material to the investigation, to ensure we remained in compliance with all guidelines – a request they appeared to ignore.

“Our lawyers also approached the regulator, in writing, to gain more information, but again no response was forthcoming.”

“Mystery shopper” investigation style under fire

The KSA’s “mystery shopper” method of investigation has proven contentious in the past, with operator Videoslots issued with a €9.87m penalty in March 2023.

At the time, Videoslots said it would challenge the ruling, accusing the regulator of abusing the mystery shopping regime.

In preparation for a KSA application in April 2022, Videoslots said the regulator’s logo was mistakenly visible for a short period of time on its website before being quickly removed.

When the KSA became aware of the mistake, Videoslots said the regulator tried to sign up as a Dutch customer and failed because of measures it had put in place.

The KSA was then said to have gained unauthorised access by pretending to be a German customer, managing to make a deposit and a single bet of 20 cents.

As soon as Videoslots learned a KSA official had unlawfully accessed its site, the operator said it implemented further measures to prevent this happening again.

However, the KSA said Videoslots violated the Dutch Gaming Act by allowing access and issued the fine, with the operator having denied the allegation and confirmed it would challenge the decision.

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