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The future of online gambling in Ontario and the Netherlands

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New laws and a small number of licenses could have a negative impact on the current state of gambling in Ontario and the Netherlands.


As new markets open to the prospect of online gambling and legalising online casinos, the iGaming industry waits to see who will be next.

With new regions that recently opened their doors to online casinos, performance, regulations, and new laws are all being scrutinised. When new regulated regions perform poorly, it can negatively impact the potential of other markets considering the future of iGaming.

Let's a closer look at how Ontario and the Netherlands are holding up and what the future could hold for these regions.

Ontario: Will Canada welcome more online casinos soon?

Home to almost 40% of Canada's population, Ontario drew the attention of iGaming regulators early on. After opening its doors to non-government online casinos in Ontario and sportsbooks on the 4th of April 2022, the market is already doing well.

Currently, there are 15 operators across 24 brands available for Ontario players to choose from, with an additional 70+ operators hoping to obtain a licence. This may sound like a lot but iGaming Ontario (iGO) has announced that they won't be capping the number of licenses allowed into the country.

One of the most prominent new laws in the region is regarding the promotion of bonuses. According to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), advertising bonuses are prohibited. The law states:

“Advertising and marketing materials that communicate gambling inducements, bonuses and credits are prohibited, except on an operator’s gaming site and through direct advertising and marketing, after receiving active player consent.”

AGCO has already dished out fines to non-compliant brands and they will continue to do so as they believe this plays a big part in protecting players.

The question still remains to be answered whether or not the rest of Canada will be following in Ontario's footsteps. And if they do, will they implement the same restrictions and regulations? Restrictions on advertising, particularly when advertising bonuses, can harm brands and their visibility to the public. If the same laws are implemented, it could push operators away from the region, rather than draw them.

Netherlands: Licensed operators are hard to find

In October 2021, the Netherlands launched their regulated online gambling market under the Remote Gambling Act (KOA). After many delays and a disrupted launch due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the new market was welcomed with open arms.

When the market first launched, it had only 10 operators that were licensed by the KSA. Now, almost a year later, there are just over 20 licensed casinos in the Netherlands.

Currently, online casino games such as slots, table games, poker, and bingo are regulated along with sports betting, horse racing and fantasy sports betting. Lotteries are prohibited online and social games are not under consideration.

A recent announcement by the KSA has revealed that a ban on "role models" being used in advertising will come into play on the 30th of June 2022. The KSA first announced this change to their regulations in February 2022 but they're reminding operators and advertisers that these rules should not be ignored.

The new advertising rules have been put in place to protect young people and at-risk players to keep them from being influenced by well-known faces. Stricter ad laws in general are a large part of the KSA's focus with more to come in the future.

The KSA is a strict regulator and this can be seen in how tight-fisted they are with the licenses they hand out to operators. With so few licenses available in the Netherlands currently, it's unclear how many more are set to be added to the roster. Without more legal and safe operators to choose from, there's a chance that players may turn to black-market casinos simply to have more choices.

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