Betfair Leaves the Netherlands Prior to Official Market Launch

A prominent sports betting and iGaming brand is shutting down operations in a European jurisdiction ahead of entering into force of new gaming regulation.

Decision to Leave

Betfair, operator of the world’s largest online sports betting exchange, is informing its marketing affiliates in the Netherlands it will be shutting down operations in the country. The final date of operations is September 30, 2021, which was probably chosen to send a message.

Unfortunately a business decision has been made to no longer offer our services in the Netherlands. This will be coming into effect on the 30th of September. Should you have any marketing directed to the Netherlands, please do take this down from your marketing source by the date stated.”

Betfair Statement

Earlier this month, a Dutch website reported Betfair customers in the Netherlands received emails informing them that the operator decided to shut down business in the country, without pointing to any particular reason, noting September 30 as the last date of operation. However, the reason for shutting its betting exchange, regular sportsbook, online casino and poker is likely the timetable of the new gambling regulation, The Remote Gambling Act (KOA Act), enacted on April 1, 2021. The new regime officially goes into effect on October 1, the day after Betfair’s departure.

Launch of Online Gambling Market

As previously announced by the national regulator Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), it intends to start issuing operator licenses on October 1, 2021, to mark the beginning of legal online gambling in the country.

In order for companies to start operating from that date, they should have submitted applications and a description of their gaming system prior to April 15, 2021.

In addition, candidates for online gambling licenses should have the requests for assessment of the components of their gaming systems and connection to CRUKS self-exclusion registry being submitted prior to July 1, 2021.

According to some reports, Betfair owner Flutter Entertainment is planning to submit an application for its PokerStars brand and to continue in the Netherlands only with online poker.

In March, the KSA issued a report on the progress of the preparations for the official launch of legal online gambling in the country, noting it had received 40 applications from international and domestic operators, expecting to grant 35 licenses in 2021.

The regulator reiterated its stance that it would also strongly evaluate candidates in terms of corporate ethics and social responsibility obligations, seeking to meet the key objective of the KOA Act of safer wagering practices and general consumer protection. All incumbents will also have to appoint a company’s legal representative in the Netherlands as part of the new gambling regulation rules.

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