The launch of regulated online gambling in the Netherlands suffered a third setback after the country’s gambling regulator Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) confirmed market launch as per the Dutch Online Gambling Act (KOA Act) would not happen before October 1, 2021.
Third Delay for the Launch
The delay comes after yesterday’s announcement in the Dutch Senate from the Minister for Legal Protections Sander Dekker that an additional month would be needed to fine-tune some technical requirements.
In February 2019, the Dutch Senate approved the Draft Bill on Remote Gambling and allowed official applications from online gaming operators for a license.
In November 2019, Sander Dekker decided to toughen requirements for operator compliance and give the KSA additional controls to tackle illegal operations and protect the market via last-minute amendments.
The previous approved timetable had March 1, 2021 as start date for the KOA Act, followed by the market going live 6 months later to ensure enough time for the licensing process, but the announcement from the ministry tasked with oversight for the launch changed the schedule.
Sander Dekker’s intervention would push the licensing window start date to April 1, 2021, setting the official launch of the regulated online gambling market in the country for October 1, 2021, 3 months later than the originally scheduled launch date July 1, 2021.
The Minister for Legal Protections, in his statement to the Senate, outlined the need for all licensees to provide direct access to the Netherlands’ new gambling self-exclusion scheme, CRUKS, prior to the marketplace launch.
KOA Act Motions Addressed
Sander Dekker also addressed two separate motions related to the KOA Act: one, asking about EU-wide laws to ensure member states’ markets protection against illegal operations, and another, regarding data from other European states about the impact of the online gambling market launch on state-run lotteries.
On the question of EU-wide laws, Dekker noted there was no requirement for policy harmonization related to gambling laws and each member is allowed to establish own rules and requirements, making it very difficult to develop and approve EU-wide safeguards.
On the question related to the impact on lotteries, the minister outlined that the government carried out an assessment of the impact prior to proposing the KOA Act, but also exercised caution in comparing the future lottery’s performance in the Netherlands against mature markets.
Dekker then provided two groups of countries, UK and Norway as examples of no impact on the respective lottery’s performances after the launch of online gambling marketplace, and Italy and Denmark as countries where online gambling impacted immediately lotteries.
In conclusion, the minister stressed that one of the key objectives of a successful launch of the online gambling marketplace in the country acknowledged by the government was to protect the performance of the lottery.