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The Netherlands Won’t Launch Its Online Gambling Market Until January 1st, 2021

- June 10, 2019 By Oliver Young -

The Netherlands has been considering launching an online gambling market for some years now. In fact, it was in 2014 that the country’s gambling legislation was approved. Then together with Belgium, they started fighting unlicensed operators that were offering online gambling services to their citizens. With hopes that they could handle the situation and prepare the rules and codes for gambling, they announced that they hoped to launch it within a year.

However, the date of the launch keeps on getting postponed. During the Gaming in Holland conference, they tackled the subject, suggesting that they could regulate the online gambling market by July 2018, but that never happened. And, the latest news is that they are forced to delay the launch again. The expected date is a year and a half from now, more precisely January 1st, 2021.

The target date of the online gambling market launch in the Netherlands is January 1st, 2021.

The target date of the online gambling market launch in the Netherlands is January 1st, 2021.

The 2021 Launch

The Chairman of the Kansspelautoriteit, the Netherland’s gambling regulatory body, René Jansen spoke at this year’s Gaming in Holland conference and explained to the attendees that the July 2020 target date is still not happening. The Remote Gambling Act was approved in February but will take effect from July 1, 2020, and after it is official, and the Ministry of Justice and Security is ready to connect the dots of regulations, will the Kansspelautoriteit start accepting online license applications. The vetting process, therefore, as Jansen suggested, will delay the actual launch of the online gambling market launch until January 1st, 2021.

Nevertheless, the Chairman invited all those interested in applying for a license to visit Kansspelautoriteit’s official website and fill out the form offered, stating their intention to apply for an online gambling license before June 21st, 2019. In fact, he explained that filling out the form was paramount, because they don’t want to be surprised by the number of applicants, just like Sweden was. Sweden expected 60 applications, but received twice the sum, making it hard for the staff to meet their January 1st, 2019 target date.

This is not the first time Kansspelautoriteit invited operators to show their expressions of interest. At the beginning of 2019, the regulator asked operators to fill out a non-binding form just to show their interest in obtaining a license to operate in the Netherlands. The regulator said back then that these forms will enable the staff to calculate the exact time they would need to launch the gambling market.

A Promise to Meet the Target Date

The Kansspelautoriteit promises to meet the target date, regardless of the hard task ahead. Jansen said that they would do whatever it takes to finish the job, even if it means hiring extra staff members to go through the applications and look for signs of ‘cowboy activities’ that might stand out and eliminate a potential applicant from being considered. On that note, the Act explicitly says that those that will receive a license will be only applicants who have not been actively offering Dutch players their online gambling content for a period of at least two years continuously. These ‘actively’ and ‘over two years’ are rather vague terms, but probably there will be guidelines soon that will clarify them.

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