On 1 October, the Netherlands officially launched its regulated online gambling market, marking the most anticipated iGaming event in Europe in 2021.
Previously prohibited, the avenue for the fully regulated Dutch market to open was made available with the passage and later enforcement of the delayed Remote Gambling Act (KOA).
The Beginning of a New Era
The KOA was initially scheduled for launch on 1 July 2020, stipulating that the market would open at the beginning of 2021. The launch, however, was pushed back for another six months two times, in November 2019 and September 2020.
Players in the Netherlands can now place their online bets with ten of the initially licensed operators.
Two years and two pushbacks later, the KOA is now officially up and running, regulating a market expected to become one of Europe's premier iGaming markets.
"Today, an important step has been taken with the opening of the legal market for online games of chance," noted Rene Jansen, chairman of Dutch regulator Kansspelautoriteit (KSA).
The strict rules imposed by the KSA require operators to identify players under the Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Prevention Act and check whether a player is registered with the Central Register Exclusion of Chance Games.
On top of that, operators will have to monitor players' gambling behaviour and flag any potential deviations.
"Recent years have shown that simply banning online gambling was no longer possible. Legalisation and regulation make it easier to protect consumers against abuses," added Jansen.
More Operators to Come
The market will initially launch with ten operators who have been issued permits for online gambling by the KSA.
Among them are bet365, Italian Betent, Belgian Bingoal, UK-based Tombola, Malta- and Estonia-licensed Play North Ltd, in addition to Dutch land-based operator Holland Casino NV and the country's own state lottery, Nederlandse Loterij.
Finally, the Janshen Hahnraths Group, NSUS Malta, and LiveScore Malta were also granted licenses after meeting all criteria.
In addition to the initial ten licenses, the regulator expects other operators to start doing business in the coming weeks and months.
"Other providers may also be interested, but they are waiting to submit an application because they are not ready yet," Jansen explained. "Strict conditions must be met, and strict testing is carried out, but there will certainly be more license holders," he pointed out.
A day before the Dutch market was put into motion, Entain, Betsson, LeoVegas, and Kindred Group announced that they would stop taking bets from Dutch players as of 1 October to increase their chances of snatching the much-coveted Dutch iGaming license as soon as possible.