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Looking Back at the Netherlands’ First Full Year of Legal Online GamblingBy Shane Addinall Mar 16, 2023 IndustryJoin us as we review the Dutch gambling market’s first full calendar year of online gambling activity, including their licensing policy, self-exclusion program, non-compliance fines and more.
With the Netherlands making online gambling legal late in 2021, 2022 was the country’s first full calendar year as a regulated market. In a recent report, the Dutch Gaming Authority (Ksa) outlined the year's core projects and deliverables.
As a new regulator, the Ksa was tasked with achieving three objectives:
- Protecting and informing consumers
- Preventing gambling addiction
- Combating illegality and crime
They set out to achieve these objectives by focusing on who is approved for licensing, enforcing compliance, addressing match-fixing, responsible gambling programs, managing the player self-exclusion process and educating the public.
Regulatory Highlights of 2022
With a full year’s worth of data by which to judge the execution of their duties, the regulator is proving to be incredibly effective.
In 2022 the Ksa received 27 license applications from international gambling operators looking to offer games of chance, live dealer games, and sports betting to Dutch gamblers. Of the initial applicants, only 13 were granted licenses, and three were rejected. The remaining seven chose to withdraw their applications once the Ksa advised they would be rejected “because the integrity assessment turned out negative”. Since its inception, the Ksa has awarded 45 online gambling licenses.
A major part of any regulated market’s responsible gambling strategy is implementing and controlling a centralised exclusion registry. The Dutch registry, Cruks, has proven to be incredibly effective, with more than 36,000 at-risk players adding themselves to create the space they need to deal with potential problem gambling habits.
In addition to keeping at-risk players safe, there is a need to encourage local gamblers to play at licensed online gambling sites. The percentage of players frequenting approved casinos and betting sites is known as channelisation. Long-established jurisdictions target a 90% channelisation rate, while the Ksa has managed to reach 85% market channelisation in less than 18 months!
An ongoing challenge in all licensed markets is finding a balance between allowing in-country marketing that stimulates the local gambling sector without putting youth and high-risk residents in danger of gambling addiction. In 2022 the Ksa was actively shutting down illegal advertising during the World Cup for men in Qatar, fined several companies for using unapproved role models in their ads and took legal action against sites that had not fulfilled their duty of care.
Across the 100 gaming sites the Gambling Commission monitored in 2022, they handed out nearly €30 million in fines for promotions and bonuses that contravened the country’s gambling act. More than 40 sites were recorded as redressing their bad behaviours and currently comply fully with local gambling regulations.
Looking to the Future
While the Ksa as an institution has existed for a decade, this first year of managing a fully licensed online gambling market has been challenging. Despite its early teething problems, the regulatory authority has proven to be effective, tenacious, and more than up to the task of guiding the Dutch market into a successful future for players and businesses alike.
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