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Dutch regulator enforces penalties on Blue High House and LCS

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Dutch gambling regulator Kansspelautoriteit has issued penalties against LCS Limited, and Blue High House. Both companies continue to operate online gambling services in the Netherlands despite the fact that they do not hold the necessary licences. LCS denies the allegations.

KSA had previously contacted both LCS as well as Blue High House regarding the matter. The operators, however, continued to run illegal online games without approval within the country.

KSA imposed a fine on both companies. LCS will be penalized EUR165,000 ($177,308) (PS139.066/$177.308), and Blue High House EUR129,000. KSA said that further actions could be taken in this matter.

Rene Jansen, KSA Chairman said: “An order with a fine is not just a warning for an illegal provider.” KSA will punish illegal providers that do not follow the correct measures in order to block Dutch players. They will also feel the impact on their wallets.

KSA mentions ongoing breaches of LCS

LCS’s case goes back to 2022, when KSA fined LCS EUR165,000 for providing gambling services without a license. The investigation into this matter started in March that same year.

KSA issued a stop-and-desist letter a month after the first. It was discovered that the operator had offered Dutch players online gambling games via Sonsofslots.com.

LCS retaliated against the order by launching legal proceedings in an attempt to continue operating. KSA chose to fine the company EUR2.1m a year after for violating their national laws and offering online games that were not approved by regulatory authorities.

LCS promised to appeal “aggressively”, describing the decision as “unjustified” in the days following. LCS criticized the decision of issuing such a high penalty. The case, according to LCS, relates to a singular incident that occurred on Sonofslots.com at the beginning of 2022. The company said that they took immediate steps to correct this.

LCS, too, criticised the methodology used by KSA to arrive at EUR2.1m, calling it “flawed”. LCS claims that the EUR2.1m figure is calculated based on estimates, but they have been proved to be incorrect.

KSA announced that a recheck in October 2023 – the month it issued its multimillion-euro penalty – found illegal games being offered via Yugibet.com

The KSA explained that this means the penalty was forfeited even though the infraction has been stopped. The KSA has ordered LCS to pay an additional EUR165,000 in addition to the fine previously imposed.

Blue High House can also be fined

Blue High House was also issued with a stop-and-desist in October of last year. This occurred around the time LCS got its fine. Blue High House was investigated by the regulator in December of 2021.

The charge stemmed from the fact that it offered online gambling via Websitebetline.ag without a license. KSA had warned that it could issue fines of up to EUR129,000 per week if an operator failed to comply. Blue High House was given two weeks to obey the 29th September decision. The deadline was set at 13 October.

KSA has noted the most recent development. Dutch players are still gambling via the site. It has therefore imposed the EUR129,000 fine. KSA also said that Blue High House could be fined.

LCS strikes back at penalties

Blenheim has now responded to the story that iGB posted earlier today. They represent LCS and the KSA in this case.

LCS, through Blenheim said that it wanted to clarify it had not returned to the Dutch market. LCS has also referred to KSA’s decision to issue a fine as being “unjustified”, using the same phrase it used for the fine in October.

The KSA view is that LCS has violated the periodic payment order. Therefore, the periodic payments have forfeited.

LCS, however, said that it could not agree and considered both decisions to be unjustified. It says that this is because of “various errors and unlawful and unauthorised actions by the KSA”. It has therefore filed an appeal against both of the decisions.

LCS stated: “Let’s not misunderstand, we take seriously our legal obligations in the Netherlands.” The recovery decision was unjust. LCS took a variety of technical measures in order to prevent or hinder access for players from Netherlands.

It is unimaginable that the KSA would claim LCS did not take technical measures, and had violated laws and regulations or breached an order. Meanwhile, the KSA was trying to gamble on the site by using false data and a VPN.

LCS refers to the fact that KSA has confirmed previously it has stopped all operations in The Netherlands, and the charges have been met. It adds that this has been true since the KSA made a public statement about the issue on 14 September 2022.

“Unjustified” action

LCS stated that “KSA’s confirmation of compliance is self evident in this respect.”

The recovery of the alleged forfeited penalties can be viewed as being more unreasonable. This is an infringement of legitimate expectations for any entity. Clarifying any confusion caused by recent media stories is of paramount importance.

We wish to be clear that LCS is not in the Dutch market at any level. This unjustified recover is contested and we remain committed to fairness and compliance in all our operations.

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