Published On: Sun, Dec 3rd, 2023

KSA fines gambling operator Betent more than $3 million

THE HAGUE – The Dutch gaming authority KSA has fined online gambling company Betent $3 million ($3.27 million) for violating a string of requirements. Betent operates in The Netherlands under a sub-license from master license holder Antillephone in Curacao. The validity of this license has been repeatedly questioned by Nardy Cramm, the editor of KnipselKrant-Curacao.com, but the KSA-decision about the fine refers to Betent as a company that “holds a license for offering online games of chance.” According to Cramm, the KSA has not reacted to her research into the questionable validity of the license.

Antillephone profiles itself as “a license operator that allows online casinos to offer their services to countries where online gambling is legal.” It furthermore states that there are “hundreds of Antillephone casinos.”

Cramm has reported that Antillephone’s master license was not renewed in 2008 but that then Minister of Justice David Dick gave the company a so-called correspondence-extension. “The original license from 1996 does not allow that,” according to Cramm.

Betent, a site that offers sports betting, is registered at the e-commerce park in Curacao, but it is also established in the Netherlands at the Keurenplein in Amsterdam. It operates online under the name Betcity.

KSA issued the hefty fine because Betent violated the law for the prevention of money laundering and the financing of terrorism and failed to report unusual transactions to the Dutch Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU).

Online gambling operators are obliged to monitor transactions of their clients and to report unusual transactions to the FIU. They also have to verify their clients’ identity and research their risk profile related to money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

Chairman René Jansen is quoted on the KSA-website as saying: “Last year the KSA has issued a broad warning to licensed operators that they have to get their measures against money laundering and the financing of terrorism in order. We have announced sanctions against non-complying operators and that is what we are doing now.”

On September 8, 2022, the KSA instructed Betent to abide by the relevant guidelines. Research revealed later that between December 2022 and May 2023 a large part of Betent’s required client-research was not up to par. KSA reviewed thirty unfinished client-researches and seven completed ones. It found that in 28 of the 30 cases Betent’s researches were insufficiently executed.

KSA reproached Betent among other things of failing to report unusual transactions to the FIU. Betent claimed that this was due to an error in its software, but the KSA was not impressed.

It noted that Betent could have imposed temporary limits on losses and deposits. Betent’s reaction: “Our stakeholders do not want that.”

In its document that contains the decision to fine Betent the KSA writes that operators have to research the origin of funds if players suffer high net losses. But the company is a master at explaining such situations away. In one case, Betent wrote in a client research report that the player could afford large losses because of his past as a professional soccer player and because he owned a business.

The KSA found that Betent failed to report 53 unusual transactions to the FIU. “Clients could lose large sums of money without Betent researching the origin of their funds,” the KSA states in its decision.

Betent can appeal the fine. An appeal suspends the obligation to pay the fine until the appeal-term of six weeks expires.


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