Applications for online gambling licences within the Netherlands have been high on the agenda for many operators since the country decided to introduce its own regulated online gambling market. The decision on that was taken in February, when the Dutch Senate chose to pass the Remote Gambling Act in the country. The market itself is due to launch in January of 2021.
Prior to that time, the Dutch gambling regulator, Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) will be taking applications for online licenses from those operators interested in joining the market. However, details on these applications have been quite limited since the announcement was made, and the KSA has seemingly been busy handing fines out to those operators who have breached Netherlands laws by operating there illegally.
However, a recent move has seen the KSA release additional information about the application process for online gambling licences. The regulatory body has stated that operators will have the ability to submit their applications once the new legislation comes into effect within the Netherlands.
Secondary regulations that will govern the market are expected to come into force from July 1, 2020 according to the Dutch government. However, these must go through a final approval by the Ministry of Justice and Security. So, while it’s possible that those regulations are effective from the given date, the KSA cannot guarantee that this will be the case. Yet, even so, it has taken the decision to update its potential licence applicants on the process that will be taking place. At least this way, the operators will be fully informed on what is necessary for them to file and pay once they can proceed with such, the body said.
Alternative Licences to Be Available
It has now been revealed that four different licences will be available for operators to apply for as far as the Dutch market is concerned. These are:
• Casino games where consumers participate against the operator (as in standard slots and table games).
• Peer-to-peer casino games (such as online poker).
• Sports betting licences
• Horse racing and trotting licences
Should an operator wish to apply for an online gaming licence, it will cost a total of €45,000. Should an operator apply, pay the fee and then be denied a licence though, this money will not be refunded. All applications are required to be written in the Dutch language, and at the same time, a translation into Dutch must be included alongside all of the official documents that are provided alongside that application.
With this being the case, the applications will only be processed through if they are complete, if the identity of the applicant is clear and concise, and the full payment has been made. It’s also possible that the regulator will request some extra information from applicants at a later time, so as to ensure the identity of them.
Once an application has been submitted to the KSA, all details will be thoroughly checked to ensure that the operator provides a responsible, fair and verifiable gambling service to its users. Should an application be found to have links to parties with criminal, administrative or tax misdemeanours, the application could very well be compromised and harmed.
To add to this, all applicants must submit a policy plan, which will demonstrate how they intend to ensure that their employees are given all of the necessary information regarding the laws and regulations within the Netherlands. Furthermore, it is also necessary that an applicant has not been declared bankrupt previously, have had any suspended payments or had their assets seized. As an add on to this, applicants must ensure that player funds are kept separate to company funds.
Other policies that are included within the application for an online gambling licence in the Netherlands include:
• Applicants require a strategy to be in place for tackling problem gambling at their site(s).
• Advertising strategies must be explained to the KSA by all applicants.
• A complaints system should be in place by all applicants, which complies with Dutch consumer protection laws.
• Operators need to demonstrate an understanding of the Sanctions Act.
• An integrity policy should be in place to help the prevention of fraud, and this should be updated regularly to cover changing risks.
• Applicants must also state how their main payment process works and how they carry out risk management.
• If an operator gains a licence, then they have to ensure that all players are properly identified before they can gamble on their sites.
As a final addition to the future plans for the Dutch online gambling market, the KSA announced that it has plans to launch its own self-exclusion system. This will be in effect nationwide and will come in the form of the Central Register for Exclusion of Gambling (CRUKS). All successful applicants of gambling licences must ensure that they’re connected with that system too, which is still in development.