The Netherlands has been actively progressing with its online gambling sector, and the latest details surrounding such is relating to a “time out”. The regulatory body of the country, Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) has provided specific information on this, which is something that it plans to impose on those operators who have served the local Dutch market without having permission beforehand to do so.
In February of this year, the Dutch government passed a bill that will bring online gambling to the Netherlands in a legal form. Prior to this time, the country was served by foreign-based platforms. However, these same sites have now come under attack by Kansspelautoriteit, which says it will require the operators of them to go through a two-year period of “cooling off” before being able to apply for a Dutch gambling licence.
It was this past Friday that the regulatory body released a draft policy rule in relation to the “time out” period. The rules state that the two-year time period will actually be backdated from the point in which the KSA receives an online licence application from a company. So, in this respect, should an operator choose to file an application on August 1, 2020 (the Dutch regulator expects to be accepting applications from July next year), the operator must not have been targeting the Dutch market any time after August 1, 2018.
Further Rules Surrounding the “Time Out”
It is the KSA which defines active targeting within the Netherlands based on several criteria. For example, if a website utilised a domain with the ending of .nl, if it provided its website and services in the Dutch language, if it released advertisements that targeted the Dutch-speaking market specifically or if it allowed players to transact with payment methods specifically used by gamers from the Netherlands.
This policy will also expire on July 1, 2021, which is a key point that the KSA pointed out. Therefore, if an operator has been found to be targeting the Dutch market after July 1, 2019, then they will permanently be excluded from being able to apply for a gambling licence in the country.
Fortunately, many operators who have been targeting the gambling market of the Netherlands in the past have been taking precautions so as to not breach any kind of rules before the ability to apply for a Dutch licence comes into effect. One brand that has been specifically called out and targeted by the KSA for disciplinary problems, Betsson AB has recently taken the decision to rebrand its own two Dutch-facing platforms.
Not only that, but the regulatory body made remarks stating that operators will also have to undergo stricter and broader reliability audits, with the complete details relating to such still being brought to a final setup. However, it is known that there will be a Bibob screening, which is required under Dutch law for any type of company that is applying for some kind of licence to operate there.
Following the launch of gambling licence applications, it is expected that the Dutch regulated gambling market will become active in January of 2021. In more recent weeks, the Netherlands saw 183 brands express their interest in becoming a part of its upcoming online gambling scene, with 89 of those companies being foreign-based.