Minister for Legal Protection Sander Dekker said in a letter to the Dutch Senate that he intends to introduce a blackout or “cooling down” period for online operators who actively sought (or seek) to attract Dutch customers ahead of the official opening of the regulated online market in the Netherlands.

Minister Dekker:

Illegal operators who continue to actively [emphasis in original] focus on the Dutch market and continue to attract players here, I wish to exclude. I have called these operators “cowboys.” These are operators who, for example, offer payment instruments such as iDeal, whose advertising is aimed at the Netherlands, or who make use of a Dutch domain name.

Dekker continues:

A license applicant who has actively offered online gambling services in the past will be able to remove doubt regarding its future reliability by showing good behavior during a consecutive period prior to the license application. During the debate on February 5, I have called this a “cooling down period.”

Dekker also answered two separate questions on online advertising restrictions and additional measures to make it harder for unlicensed online gambing providers to operate in the Netherlands.

Will it be enough?

Several senators during Tuesday’s debate appeared to be aiming for a Dutch online market that will be dominated – at least for the first few years – by publicly-owned Holland Casino and Nederlandse Loterij, while international operators will be kept at bay (for the time being) through strict enforcement measures.

At present, it is not clear whether the concessions made by Minister Dekker will be enough to sway a sufficient number of senators. Obviously, much will depend on the exact interpretation of the word “actively” in the passage cited above.

The Dutch Senate is currently scheduled to continue its debate on the Remote Gaming Bill and Casino Reform Bill on Tuesday February 12, 14:05-15:45 CET.

Stay tuned!