6 August 2020

Online gambling market update

Category: Gaming law

The Dutch remote gambling market is about to open next year. However this may not be in July 2020, because the pandemic may cause some delay. But still the KSA Chairman Jansen is positive: he thinks the Dutch market might be a very interesting market for gaming providers. It is expected that approximately 90 application will be filed by interested parties for the remote gaming licence. Licence applications for online games of chance may be submitted to the Kansspelautoriteit (Ksa, Netherlands Gambling Authority) as soon as the Remote Gambling Act enters into force. An application for a remote gambling license in the Netherlands can be applied for as from January 1 2020. Following the proposed timetable, the online gaming and betting market should open six months afterwards.

Covid-19 statement of Netherlands Gambling Authority (KSA)

The KSA is not amused if (illegal) providers use the Corona crisis to attract more customers. Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the KSA has noted an increase in the level of activities of illegal online gambling operators and their advertisers in the Netherlands. These operators are trying to take advantage of the fact that arcades and casinos have had to close on account of the coronavirus. The Ksa has submitted that this is unacceptable and it has decided to take strict action an law enforcement against this. At the moment offering gambling via the internet is still prohibited in the Netherlands. Illegal operators who act against this prohibition, are trying to take advantage of the current corona crisis can count on fines at least 50,000 euros higher than normal, according to a statement of KSA.

Operators that have targeted the Dutch online market

The Netherlands Gambing Authority has submitted operators who have “actively targeted Dutch players” in the last two years would be barred from gaining gambling licences, and would also have to rebuild their databases from scratch when entering the regulated market. According to the KSA Chairman several operators have changed their practices in a certain sense, like dropping the popular payment methods like Ideal in the Netherlands. As mentioned already, using the pandemic to attract new players is not a good thing to do, that may have consequence in the application procedure. Applicants will have to disclose their activities such as targeting of the Dutch market in the application procedure. Integrity and reliability screening will be part of the license application procedure.

Test for integrity and reliability in application procedure

The proposed Dutch licensing process will be exhaustive. The applicant will amongst others be tested for integrity, reliability and security the financial position of players is a main issue. The application for the remote gaming license will soon be published and we will scrutinize these forms for our clients. To give you an idea on the Dutch approach you may have a look at the 24 page Application form for the Dutch Charity Lottery. In this application for you are asked amongst others to produce your reliability policy, integrity policy, an incident policy, players regulation, procedure on excluding minors, IT inspection as well as information of the UBO, executive managers, policy executives, other parties with an interest, etc. We expect the Dutch igaming application form to be more extensive because of new policy goals with more focus on the protection of platers.

Gambling licence application procedure

We have assisted many foreign applicants in license application procedures in the Netherland. Not only gaming licences. We have successfully assisted client in obtaining licenses for financial services with the AFM and DNB including licenses for crypto providers. Like these licence procedures, the application procedure for the online games licenses will be exhaustive. It is our experience that it may be very helpful to consult a lawyer familiar with the application procedure. Mistakes are easily made. Not giving full disclosure or wrong information will lead to a refusal of the license. The authority will ask very detailed information on the company of the applicant, the management, financing, daughter companies, and various records of authorities will be checked amongst others the tax authority.