Dutch online regulator KSA levies fine against WPN over accessibility from Netherlands

Haley Hintze
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Posted on: June 7, 2023 6:58 am EDT

The Netherlands’ online-gambling regulator, de Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), has issued a rolling fine against the Winning Poker Network (WPN) over what the KSA asserts is continued accessibility to one of the WPN’s skins, True Poker, after an earlier warning. In a statement issued on Wednesday, the regulator announced it had levied a fine of 25,000 euros per week, with a maximum of 75,000 euros, against the international platform.

The fine is a follow-up to a cease-and-desist order the KSA sent to the Winning Poker Network in March over its assertion that WPN has allowed Dutch players to gamble on the network. The Netherlands, via the KSA, has one of the strictest online-gambling regulatory regimes and has targeted numerous operators — both licensed and unlicensed — for various infractions.

The situation involving access to the True Poker skin is an offshoot of an earlier KSA decree. The regulator’s agents routinely surf online-gambling sites on the web and discovered in 2021 that Dutch players were able to access WPN’s flagship brand, Americas Cardroom. In early 2022, the KSA demanded that WPN block access to ACR from its jurisdiction.

WPN complied with that request, which specifically listed ACR as the site to be blocked, and that geoblocking was affirmed by the KSA in January. However, a KSA follow-up revealed that Dutch gamblers could still access WPN via truepoker.eu, a secondary skin, at which time the KSA expanded its earlier request.

Yesterday’s KSA statement asserts that WPN has not complied with the KSA’s demand to block Dutch players from accessing the network via True Poker, leading in turn to the fine, which was first threatened against WPN in a February KSA summary of its investigation.

Neither WPN nor any of its skins, such as True Poker, offer any sort of Dutch-language support. However, the KSA decalred that the network was catering “partly” to Dutch players by not listing the Netherlands among banned jurisdictions and by including the Netherlands-based iDEAL online-payment network as one of many deposit/withdrawal services it offers.

The fine’s issuance against WPN appears relatively toothless on its surface. Whether the KSA seeks to pursue stricter measures such as inclusion of WPN and its skins on a Netherlands-wide blacklist remains to be seen, since such measures have been shown to be easy for online players to circumvent.