Third Delay Pushes Back Dutch Online Gambling Launch to October 2021

  • The Dutch Minister of Justice and Security announced the latest postponement on January 19
  • A third delay means the online gambling market will open nine months later than first expected
  • Minister Dekker said the delay should give the KSA and the gambling sector more time to prepare
  • The government is looking into how iGaming legalization affected lottery sales in other countries
Netherlands flag with skyscraper in the background
Online gamblers in the Netherlands will have to wait until Fall 2021 for the market to open, following the latest delay to the implementation of the Dutch Remote Gambling Act. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Operators can apply for licenses starting April 1

The stop-start rollout of the Netherlands online gambling market has hit yet another snag. Yesterday saw Dutch Minister of Justice and Security Sander Dekker announce the latest delay to the implementation of the Remote Gambling (KOA) Act from March 1 to April 1. 

Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), the Netherlands gambling regulator, tweeted out the news of the delay on January, linking to an official release that included Dekker’s announcement.

While operators can apply for online gaming licenses from April 1, the delay means the long-anticipated rollout of the Dutch online gambling market will happen in the fourth quarter of 2021, on October 1.

Market launch is nine months late

July 1, 2020 was the original date the gambling act should have entered into law, with the market on track to go live in January 2021. A six-month delay surfaced in November 2019, bringing about a launch date reset to July 1, 2021.

Dutch online gambling market, bar any further hold-ups, will open nine months later than initially expected

Dekker, however, announced a second delay to remote gambling legislation in September 2020, setting a new date of March 1, 2021. Yesterday’s additional postponement means the Dutch online gambling market, bar any further hold-ups, will open nine months later than initially expected.

KOA legislation includes combating crime related to gambling, avoiding problem gambling, giving additional protection to gamblers, and applying stricter advertising rules.

The Minister explained that the latest setback came about after the Dutch government had cottoned on to the fact that slower implementation of KOA legislation could create a more robust regulatory environment.

While “proceeding energetically”, Dekker said, the online gambling market will open in the fall of 2021. This will allow the KSA and the Netherlands gambling sector “sufficient opportunity for complete preparation.”

Looking out for the lottery

Fielding questions from Dutch MPs, Dekker also said yesterday that the government would commission a report examining how iGaming legalization in other European countries affected lottery sales.

He pointed out that a “causal relationship” between the two markets was unlikely, flagging up the UK and Norway — where lottery sales increased when legal online gaming launched — and Italy and Denmark, where the opposite happened.

Dekker said that the online gambling market in the Netherlands would be subject to a review after three years. Then, if evidence links the KOA act to a fall in lottery sales, the government could rectify the lost proceeds by introducing a mandatory levy that would go towards sport and good causes.