The Netherlands has formally launched its online gambling marketplace, which will operate under the rules and regulations of the ‘KOA’ Remote Gambling Act.
KOA’s ascent into law sees the Dutch Kamer complete a near decade-long journey to approve the Netherlands’ first online gambling framework.
In 2016, the Dutch regulatory authority – Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) – had to halt the launch of an approved regime following ministerial splits on the market’s final tax arrangements and the protections of state-owned gambling operators.
After three-years in deliberation, in 2019 the Dutch Senate approved a timetable for the passage of the KOA Gambling Act, supported by Dutch Legal Protections Minister Sander Dekker.
Under the original timetable, KOA was due to launch its licensing window on 1 July 2020 with its market launch due to open six months later. However, the schedule had to be redrafted as Dekker demanded that further compliance and technical arrangements were applied to the KOA.
Unforeseen COVID-19 interruptions saw KSA move the KOA licensing window to 1 April, with the market due to launch on 1 October 2021.
Yesterday the KSA revealed the list of 10 operators that had received KOA licences – a figure which is considerably lower than its projected figure of 29 approved operators.
When discussing the low number of approved licences, the KSA stated that the majority of applicants had failed to meet its ‘high-bar’ in securing licences for the market’s initial launch.
KSA Chairman René Jansen warned incumbents of their duties in protecting Dutch consumers from gambling harms and promoting ‘fair and moderated play’.
He said: “The Gaming Authority’s mission is to ‘play safe’, consumers who want to participate in games of chance must be able to do so in a safe environment.”
“The consumer must be assured of fair play. And the provider must pay sufficient attention to the prevention of gambling addiction. Today, with the opening of the legal market for online games of chance, an important step has been taken.
“Recent years have shown that simply banning online gambling was no longer possible. With legalisation and regulation it is better possible to protect consuers against abuses.