Dutch iGaming to suffer further delays

The seemingly never-ending wait for the launch of the Dutch iGaming market looks set to continue for a little longer. 

Licensing is now set to commence from 1st April 2021, as confirmed by regulator Kansspelautoriteit (KSA). 

The delay means that online operators in the country are expected to go live in October 2021 at the earliest. 

Why has the launch of the Netherlands’ online gambling market been delayed? 

The request to delay the launch of iGaming in the Netherlands was that of Sander Dekker, who is the country’s Minister for Legal Protections. 

Responsible for making sure the Dutch Online Gambling Act is implemented without issues, he wanted more time to tweak some of the legislation’s current technical requirements. 

The launch of the Dutch iGaming market had already been delayed twice before. In November 2019, numerous last-minute changes were requested. At this point, frameworks had already been agreed upon. 

Later, the go-live date for online gambling in the Netherlands was pushed back again. The market’s launch had been planned for July 2021, six months after the licensing process should have started. 

Dekker answers a series of questions 

When writing to the Kamer, Dekker mentioned that he wanted to ensure all operators with a licence could also get to the country’s self-exclusion scheme. 

Two politicians also had questions about the act, which the Minister for Legal Protections sought to answer. 

The Dutchman was first asked about potential EU laws. Madeleine Van Toorenburg of the Christian Democrats wanted to know if the government would demand union-wide regulations for gambling. The aim of these would be to protect players in the bloc against black market operators. 

Dekker said that current EU laws do not require any cross-country agreement on individual member states’ regulations. All countries are allowed to develop and implement their own gambling laws, though these must be submitted to the European Commission. Because each country is free to pick its own gambling regulations, cooperation across all member states would be challenging. 

Questions about how the Dutch state-run lotteries would be affected by the incoming gambling regulations were also asked. Niels Van Den Berge of the Green Party put these forward. 

In response to Van Den Berge’s questions, Dekker said that caution must be taken when comparing the country’s lotteries’ performances to gambling markets that have been around for longer. 

Dekker also added that as part of the Online Gambling Act’s research phase, lottery assessments had been performed. He also pointed to the UK and Norway as countries where national lotteries have been used to fund good causes in those particular nations.

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