KSA proposes two-year cooling-off period for licensees

12 July 2019

The Dutch Gaming Authority (KSA) has published a new draft rule, which states that to be eligible for an online gambling licence, a potential licensee must have refrained from offering online games of chance to Dutch consumers for two years.

The Netherlands' online gaming market is set to open for business from 2021, but until this point igaming remains prohibited. However with a number of operators having been found to have targeted Dutch consumers, the question of whether to offer licences to such operators has been a key point of contention in the drafting of final regulations. 

The KSA has now moved to end the debate by proposing the two-year cooling-off period. It follows a motion from Senator Andre Postema, passed along with the Remote Gambling Act that legalised online gaming, that required the country's government inform the Dutch legislature of its criteria for having internet service providers block access to websites. When the legislation passed the Senate, a proposal to set a five-year cooling-off period was rejected.

Prior to the Remote Gambling Act passing, Minister for Justice and Security Sander Dekker wrote that, “illegal gambling operators that will continue to actively target the Dutch market and recruiting players from the Dutch market, must be avoided.”

The KSA policy states that six main tests will be used to determine if a company attempted to target Dutch customers. The criteria to be examined include whether the operator used a website with an dot.nl extension, used domain names associated with the Netherlands, used a website containing content or images “from which a focus on the Netherlands can be derived”.

The regulator will also look at whether an operator offered its services in the Dutch language, used means of payment that are “used exclusively or largely by Dutch people” such as iDeal. Finally, it will look at whether an operator advertised on TV, radio or in print media aimed at the Dutch market.

“An important objective of the Remote Gambling Act is to create a safe, controlled range of online gambling,” the KSA explained. “Without any leniency for providers who have violated the law in the past, this offer will not take place.”

The KSA is currently setting up the licensing process, with the Ministry of Justice and Security currently drafting the law into subordinate regulations. The licensing process is exected to begin on 1 July, 2020, with 183 companies having registered their interest in operating in the market.