Dutch gambling authority, the Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), has revealed that the country’s online market growth appears to be ‘levelling off’ or ‘stagnating’, according to its latest market report.
The online betting and gaming space has now been live for more than two years, having launched on 1 October 2021 under the KOA Act with an initial grouping of 10 licensed operators.
Over this 24 month period, the market has expanded to include 27 operators, with the latest licence issued this week, whilst LeoVegas also marked its return to the sector after securing a licence in June.
This expansion in active licensed operators has understandably come with substantial growth in net gaming revenue (NGR), or gross gaming result (BSR) as it is reported in the Netherlands – however, the KSA’s latest stats show that this is now stabilising.
René Jansen, KSA Chairman, said: “This fifth monitoring report shows that the gaming market continues to grow, even if it is levelling off. This means that the market is developing as expected. The continued growth ensures increasing responsibility among providers.
“The KSA continues to strictly monitor that Dutch players can gamble in a safe market, with sufficient attention to addiction prevention and insight into possible problematic gaming behaviour. Duty of care and addiction prevention are a crucial part of our supervision.”
Total BSR for the 12 month timeframe of August 2022-July 2023 reached €1.3bn, showing continued but slightly weaker growth compared against that seen during previous time periods.
Other figures showed 33% growth in BSR from August 2022 to January 2023 and 8% growth between January 2023 and August 2023. Based on these, the KSA has reached the conclusion that growth has ‘stagnated’, as mentioned above.
This contrasts slightly with the regulator’s fourth monitoring report, published in April, in which NGR of €90m for January prompted the KSA to estimate the Dutch market’s annual growth rate at 15%.
There are some varying conclusions that can be drawn from these figures – firstly, it could be concluded that the stabilisation of the Dutch market shows that the sector is maturing after two years of strong growth.
This maturity has come hand-in-hand with regulatory and legislative developments, with the 12 month period reported by the KSA notably seeing the introduction of strict new advertising measures on 1 July.
The KSA noted this ban in its fifth report, whilst also addressing two topics which have been at the centre of the debate around gambling advertising in the Netherlands – the impact on young people and channelisation.
Regarding the latter, the authority has itself previously pointed out that advertising serves the purpose of channelling consumers away from unlicensed operators and to the regulated market, which has stronger and better monitored player protection measures.
A channelisation target of eight in 10 players using legal operators after market launch had been set by Dutch authorities. According to the KSA’s Fifth Report, this has been achieved with 93% of bettors using regulated sites, an increase of 1% over the previous six months, 98% of new players who joined the market after the KOA Act now use legal platforms.
Regarding the number of young adults participating in gambling, in July 2023 the number stood at 170,000 accounts, representing 21% of all active accounts and marking a decline of 184,000 in January.
On the other hand, the KSA added that young people ‘have relatively many accounts per player’ given that they make up 9.4% of the total Dutch adult population according to Statistics Netherlands, but they do lose less per month per account at an average of €59.
With 27 operators now active in the Netherlands including big names such as Entain – via its BetCity.nl holding – bet365 and now LeoVegas, and with political attention firmly focused on the market’s development, it is yet to be seen whether the influx of operators will continue as ‘levelling off’ continues.