How do online casino regulations look like in the Netherlands?

Online casino regulations are set to come into effect in September of 2021.

The Netherlands remains the only country in Europe without an operational online gambling industry, with the online casino regulations set to come into effect in September of 2021. The European Commission set out an online gambling legalization framework urging the country's government to allow online gambling. However, Sander Dekker, the Minister for Legal Protection speaking on behalf of the Dutch government, postponed implementing the online regulations ACT and the issuance of licenses from 1st of July 2020 to 1st of July 2021. However, the minister further pushed the implementation date to September of 2021, an additional month added to the delay period. He states that "slow implementation of the online gambling regulations aims at creating a better and stronger rule execution environment."

What to expect
Online gambling operators should not expect much from the online gambling act after its implementation. After the inception of the Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), crafted the current gambling authority in the Netherlands back in 2012, the gambling rules regulating the industry back in 1964. Rene Jensen, one of the newly made gambling authority officials, indicated that it was high time that the country legalized online gambling. "It is now 2021, the internet has advanced and changed many operational fronts, and it doesn't stop at the country's borders. The current online gambling market isn't regulated; no one is protecting, policing or watching the market. It is about time that we created a safe online gambling environment for all involved parties," he says.  
The law currently in place has many inhibitions and conditions for online operators. However, the KSA's primary concern is for operators to have and make adequate provisions to prevent and ensure "responsible gambling" to prevent addiction. Another requirement is to provide company reliability to avoid exploitation players and reduce the chances of money laundering. Furthermore, the KSA, through Jensen states, "offered games by the operators must provide fair play to all." The requirement is that all operators conduct risk analysis on all their offered games before issuing them to players or commencing business.
Additional Restrictions 
Before the ACT coming into force in September, more restrictions governing the local and land-based operators have sneaked their way into online gambling as well. Earlier in the year, the government banned the use of famous athletes and young from advertising gambling products. In the recent past, the country authorities also took it a step further, saying that "appealing young individuals should not be used as advertising tools by gambling operators." Sports teams popular in the country also fell into the banned category. The main reason stated for the ban was "Young athletes, appealing young individuals, and sports teams in the country can be described as "Role Models" to the younger generations." Therefore, the adverts indirectly promote gambling amongst the young, a factor the government has put in a lot of effort to prevent.
The government also restricts betting in football matches and other game events or tournaments where the players are under 21 years of age. The rule outlines that any game considered to be in the "Dutch Third Division or Lower," including under 21, is not available for betting or gambling purposes. The restrictions refer to both friendly under-21 football matches and other sports and global sports organized by international organizations such as FIFA.
Higher licensing fees and bonus terms
Outlined in the Act is a licensing fee for online operators estimated at around €48,000. The amount would be an alarm, but with the recent restrictions on advertising and licensing, the amount is bound to be a sore place for many operators. Operators only have access to events organized by the Sports European, the Dutch Trotting and Racing Foundation, and any other Global organizers like FIFA and GokkastenOnline. Other events will require a submission to the commission before the event for an in-depth analysis before issuing an operating license.
Players unwilling to accept or claim a bonus have no way out. One of the conditions indicates that players should all receive bonuses even if they do not want to receive the bonus. Players who receive an intervention due to bonuses have a shorter or a more extended intervention period than the current 60 days depending on the severity of the said intervention. The regulations also place a ban on timed bonuses. All these rules surprising will not affect the Netherlands lottery market as they are exempted from the law.
The future 
The Dutch gambling space has already been in operation, albeit illegally. Regulating the industry is the first step towards legalizing all the illegal trade taking place in the country. The government is ready and prepared to negotiate with operators. As a show of good faith, the government is prepared to drop the tax rate for all online operators by 9% to 20% from the previous 29%. The aim is to increase competition while drafting responsible gaming rules that will reduce problematic gambling.
Many countries in the European Union have legalized online gambling. The Netherlands seems to take steps slower than any other country to improve the gambling market and reduce the problems faced. However, all will come to fruition in September! We can only hope for a positive outcome and a hope for relief to the Dutch players!

This article is a reprint from The Jerusalem Post. To view the original story, share and comment, click here.

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