Level Playing: Dutch Regulator Targets 35 Licenses for Legal Market Opening Later This Year

Author Thomas Wolf
March 30, 2021 3 min read
by Thomas Wolf

The Netherlands’ gambling regulator, Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), has announced that it expects to issue around 35 licenses before its long-delayed legal market opens later this year.

The new regulation, setting the framework for a completely legal market in the country, came into force this month.

The regulator will start assessing license applications from April 1, 2021, with an aim to issue said 35 licenses for an October launch.

“The Games of Chance Act, our current legal framework, dates from 1964. There was no question of digitization at the time. It was therefore high time for the Remote Gambling Act (Koa), which in fact supplements and changes the current law” said KSA Chairman Rene Jansen.

This information was revealed in KSA’s annual report, which was released this week.

Despite being worth some $2 billion in annual bets, the Netherlands has not updated its gambling laws for over 60 years.

Behaved Correctly

Despite targeting a fairly high figure of 35 licensed operators for the market launch, Mr. Jansen reminded everyone that past transgressions would not be forgotten.

As it moves towards a fully legal market, the KSA has been going after gaming companies that deliberately target Dutch customers.

Before the new law, there was no specific regulation stopping Dutch customers from playing at international online casinos. However, sites that continued to target Dutch customers after regulatory intervention were continually warned they would be at the back of the queue for a license if a legal market ever developed.

Mr. Jansen believes that the carefully crafted legislation will “create a level playing field at the market opening.”

“At least, this applies to providers who behaved ‘neatly’ in the past, that is to say that they did not specifically target the Dutch consumer with their range of games of chance” he continued.

“The parties that did, for example by using the Dutch language on their website or accepting a Dutch payment method such as iDEAL, have to wait. This was a specific wish of Dutch politicians, which will of course be fulfilled” finished Mr. Jansen.

Long Processes

The legal market in the Netherlands has been long-awaited. The first round of regulatory approval was cleared by the Dutch parliament back in 2016 – but it didn’t get approval in the Senate until the end of 2019.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic then delayed many gambling projects around the world.

Casino operators and game developers now have seven months to familiarize themselves with the requirements of this newly legal market before submitting their application for a license.

Just one of the conditions will include signing up to CRUKS, a countrywide gambling self-exclusion scheme in a similar vein to the UK’s Gamstop.

Operators will also be required to commit a percentage of their yearly revenue to fund problem gambling awareness, treatment, and prevention charities across the country.

“Ultimately, our work revolves around the interests of the player, of the consumer. A fair market remains an important objective, but is above all a means to allow consumers to play safely”

Mr. Jansen

In the report, he also revealed the KSA’s slogan for the market launch, and all activities around that time would be the Dutch equivalent of Play Safe.

Wise words, indeed. For the latest updates on this story, plus much more from online casino markets from around the globe, keep checking our pages.

Author Thomas Wolf

Author

Thomas Wolf

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