Dutch Gambling Regulator Expects to Issue 35 Online Licenses Starting April 1

  • In its 2020 report, the KSA said it expects to issue 35 licenses, mainly to international companies
  • The license application process will begin April 1, with the market going live on October 1
  • The new Remote Gambling Act establishes requirements for licensees to ensure safer gambling
  • The market’s launch has faced three delays, now scheduled nine months after the initial date
Netherlands flag and bet keys on computer keyboard
During the licensing process for its new online gambling market, Dutch regulator Kansspelautoriteit said it expects to issue around 35 permits to mainly international companies. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Preparing for an October launch

The Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) expects to issue around 35 licenses for online gambling companies once the Netherlands’ online gambling legislation comes into force on April 1 this year. The Dutch gambling regulator expects the majority of permits to go to international companies.

The market will go live on October 1

The KSA outlined its licensing plans in its 2020 annual report, released on Tuesday. It said a license application process will begin on April 1 upon introduction of the Remote Gambling Act. The market will go live on October 1.

The KSA took to Twitter on Tuesday morning to publicize the report:

In addition to establishing the number of licensees, the report provides several other details on the new market. It includes key requirements for license holders to ensure the protection of players and establishes some of the KSA’s powers and plans for the prevention of gambling harm.

KSA’s safer gambling mission

As part of the introduction of the Remote Gambling Act, the KSA has gained additional powers to help regulate the new market. Earlier this month, the group appointed three bodies to operate its gambling harm prevention and addiction support services. The KSA’s “Addiction Prevention Fund” will finance this new safer gambling network.

The three responsible gambling organizations include Human Assistance Network for Daily Support, Zorgintituut, and ZonMW. The KSA, along with Dutch public health agencies and other government departments, will review the work of these three groups following the launch.

The report also notes a slight change to the KSA’s main slogan. Instead of “Safe play in a fair market,” the body has refined its mission statement to just “Play safe.” Commenting on the shift in focus, René Jansen, KSA chairman, said: “A fair market remains an important objective, but is above all a means to allow consumers to play safely.”

The Remote Gambling Act also includes various requirements to ensure licensees commit to responsible gambling. Under one such measure detailed in the report, all online gambling companies must run customer checks through the Cruks self-exclusion database. Licensees must also provide game data to the KSA so it can carry out remote monitoring.

Delay after delay after delay

All forms of online gambling are currently illegal under Dutch law, but many citizens already wager through sites located in other countries. The nation’s journey toward a legal online gambling market has taken many years.

René Jansen announced July 1, 2020 as the Act’s launch date

The Dutch government first heard proposals for a legal online gambling market in 2011. It wasn’t until February 2019 that the Remote Gambling Act gained approval. Later that year, René Jansen announced July 1, 2020 as the Act’s launch date, with online gambling to go live in 2021.

This initial date faced delays three times as the government struggled to introduce the necessary framework before the deadline. The Dutch Minister of Justice and Security Sander Dekker announced the most recent postponement in January of this year, setting the market launch back nine months from its initial start date.

That said, Dekker insisted the delayed launch would provide the KSA and Dutch gambling sector with “sufficient opportunity for complete preparation.” If all goes to plan, Dutch residents will be able to gamble online by the end of 2021.