KOA applicants urge KSA to clarify cooling-off commands 

Entain Plc and Kindred Group have reaffirmed their intent to join the Netherlands KOA online gambling marketplace which is due to launch on 1 October. 

Yesterday, KOA’s first 10 licenced applicants were disclosed by Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), the Netherlands’ gambling regulatory authority.

Presumed to be taking part in the KOA’s first licensing window, European igaming giants Entain and Kindred withdrew their applications after choosing to observe KSA’s ‘cooling-off’ order as a prerequisite to applying for Dutch market licensing.

This morning, FTSE100 Entain stated that it would continue to observe the KSA’s cooling-off orders, instructing all brands to cease their Dutch market offerings.

Awaiting its KOA clearance, Entain outlined that it expected to absorb an ‘EBITDA impact of around £5 million per month’.

A statement read: “Entain will submit its Dutch licence application later this year and the Group aims to be granted a licence during the first half of 2022, in line with the Group’s objective of only operating in domestically regulated markets.”

Issuing a response to KOA licensing developments, Kindred Group explained that it had actively observed KSA’s cooling-off command since the policy rule was established in 2019.

Working with Dutch online gambling trade association NOGA, Kindred has sought clarification from the KSA, who had previously stated in a letter to operators: “Parties are entitled to a licence on the basis of this policy rule, but it does not exempt them from enforcement.”

Kindred underlined that it had been compliant with all cooling-off provisions, hosting no .nl or Dutch language websites, whilst ceasing all local marketing and its Dutch payment capacities during the evaluation period.

The Stockholm operator noted that it had passed all required audits to comply with the first window of the KOA regime. Confident in its preparations, Kindred will apply for its KOA licence during Q4 2021 in accordance with KSA’s new regulatory timeframe.

Kindred detailed in its KOA response: “Kindred continues to put a safe gambling environment at the very core of our strategy and operations, and already now complies as much as possible with all Dutch licence requirements and are fully dedicated to consumer protection, preventing addiction and combatting fraud and crime.

“An important part of this is our ambition to reach zero per cent revenue from harmful gambling by 2023.

“We see the opening of the online gambling market as a very positive step for all involved and we are looking forward to receiving our Dutch licence during 2022 and thereby be able to enter the Dutch market, as well as positively contributing to the Dutch society.”

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