Vertraagd: Netherlands’ Legal Online Gambling Market Launch Delayed Again
Government ministers in the Netherlands have confirmed over the weekend that the launch of their new gambling regulation, The Remote Gambling Act, would be delayed by two months.
It will now launch in March 2021. Because operators have been assured of a grace period of six months to get themselves and their licenses in order, this means the market itself will not open for business until September 2021 at the earliest.
The delay “creates more space for all parties involved to prepare for the new law coming into effect,” said Sander Dekker, the Dutch minister in charge of creating this newly legal market.
For example, potential licensees must be strictly vetted by regulator Kansspelautoriteit (KSA). As we reported when the Dutch parliament sent off the draft legislation for EU approval last month, international operators must also ensure that previous Dutch player records are wiped (if there are any).
This means a clean slate of competition. Otherwise, companies that (illegally) served Dutch customers would have an unfair advantage with all that existing customer information.
Other clauses include mandatory membership of the national CRUKS self-exclusion system, which is similar to the UK’s GAMSTOP, as well as a ban on daytime TV advertising.
Enacting these new procedures has been complicated by the arrival of the global COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, which has killed over 6,000 people in the lowland European country.
We knew as early as June that more delays to the bill were likely, but no-one knew how long that could be. A two-month hold is hardly the worst outcome possible.
“The Minister has decided on this timetable after discussion with all those involved, including the KSA,” said Mr. Dekker’s office in an official statement.
However, considering the current economic climate and forecasts for global business, any delays are not particularly welcome.
Companies have been making hay while the sun shines for a few months now. The Stars Group and Flutter merged, then Evolution Gaming bought out its rival NetEnt.
We’re sure that operators would ideally have liked to sort out their slice of the $2 billion yearly Dutch gambling pie as soon as possible. However, with the world as it is right now, that can’t be helped.
Operators looking to move into the Netherlands’ legal market would be wise to get their affairs in order quickly, as the KSA hasn’t been afraid to dish out fines and public rebukes on many occasions.
The KSA also recently signed a landmark Memorandum of Understanding with the Maltese Gaming Authority. The MGA is one of Europe’s biggest gambling license providers.
The new deal will see the two authorities work much closer together, even across borders. This could be for looking up prospective licensees and their history, dealing with customer complaints, and even chasing up rogue operators or casinos.
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