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The Netherlands launch online gambling with tight regulations

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Online gambling becomes legal in The Netherlands after many delays and operators jumping through regulatory hoops.

With their sights set on an online gambling industry that promotes healthy gaming habits and puts the player’s safety first, The Netherlands officially launched their regulated online gambling market. The 1st of October 2021 marks the day when Dutch punters can finally enjoy legal Dutch online casinos in a regulated market.

Until recently, online gambling and sports betting were illegal in The Netherlands, but on 1 April 2021, the Remote Gambling Act came into effect and casino operators could submit their license applications. After a COVID-19 induced delay and the effects of exceptionally strenuous application conditions, the Dutch regulator, Kansspelautoriteit, received 29 applications by the end of September.

Rene Jansen of Kansspelautoriteit noted:

“Other providers may also be interested, but they are waiting to submit an application because they are not ready yet. Strict conditions must be met and strict testing is carried out, but there will certainly be more licence holders.”

The launch experienced yet another delay as the KSA’s self-exclusion platform, CRUKS, suffered a glitch. The Dutch regulator did not allow operators to launch until they resolved the technical issue on 2 October.

Making the cut

The launch by KSA followed the announcement of 10 approved operators who proudly received a Dutch license. Rene Jansen, chairman of Dutch regulator Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), revealed that it is quite a feat to receive approval for a Dutch license. One of the biggest focus points is the prevention of gambling-related harm and how casino providers intend to avoid this.

Five of the approved license holders are local Dutch providers. These include Holland Casino and state lottery Nederlandse Loterij with its TOTO Online betting brand. Other approved Dutch providers are FPO Netherlands BV, Betent, and Bingoal. The five multinational brands joining the aforementioned are Bet365, Play North Ltd, LiveScore, GGPoker (NSUS Malta), and UK-based bingo operator, Tombola.

Dutch punters can now enjoy titles from premium software developers like Playtech, Microgaming, Greentube, and Blueprint Gaming, to mention only a few. Holland Casino patrons can take part in sports betting via the platform as iSoftbet and Betent signed a multi-year partnership with Kambi for its online sportsbook.

Holland Casino secured a payment solutions partnership with Nuvei.

The payment tech company has extensive experience with fraud prevention and anti-money laundering protocols, making it a perfect fit for the rigorous guidelines of the Remote Gambling Act. Nuvei is an iDEAL payment partner, which is a trusted and preferred payment system in The Netherlands. Dutch players can also make use of VISA, Maestro, Mastercard and Trustly payment methods.

No horseplay

Some online casino operators made the tough call of blocking Dutch players altogether. This was in part because of an announcement made by Sander Dekker, Dutch Minister for Legal Protection, that certain terms of the country’s regulatory protocols will change.

Betsson, Kindred Group, LeoVegas, and Entain all announced by 30 September that they would halt all services to Dutch players in order to strengthen their chances of obtaining a license soon. In an announcement, Kindred explained that they were waiting out a regulatory “cooling-off” period before they submit their application. 888 commented that they applied but won’t be in the first round of approvals.

The Dutch regulator will take disciplinary action if they catch unlicensed operators offering games of chance. In September, the KSA fined Tipico for allegedly targeting Dutch customers and, although the provider denies this, they are liable for a €531,250 fine. Dutch regulations for online casinos stipulate that any operator who provided services to Dutch punters, need to take a 6-month cooling-off period prior to the market launch. Many are following suit.

CasinoWow verdict

Since the launch of the Dutch online market, the list of premium operators blocking Dutch players has grown. We predict KSA is correct in expecting many more license applications in the near future. With an estimated market share of €800 million by 2024, who would not want a piece of the pie?

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